Wisconsin Codifies "Internet Visitation"

February 05, 2006

The Wisconsin legislature passed this "internet visitation" bill into law yesterday. Allow commonly referred to as "internet visitation," the bill essentially codifies many standard decretal provisions that allow for telephone contact between the custodial and non-custodial parent. The following summary is from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau:
This bill provides that, if the court grants periods of physical placement to both parents, the court may grant to a parent a reasonable amount of electronic communication at reasonable hours during the other parentís periods of physical placement with the child. Electronic communication is defined as time during which a parent and his or her child communicate by using various types of communication tools, such as the telephone, electronic mail, instant messaging, and video conferencing or other wired or wireless technologies via the Internet. The basis for granting electronic communication is whether it is in the childís best interest and whether equipment for providing electronic communication is reasonably available to both parents. Electronic communication may be used only to supplement, and not as a substitute or replacement for, the physical placement that a parent has with the child. The bill provides that a parenting plan that a party files with the court before a pretrial conference when legal custody or physical placement is contested must include any electronic communication a parent is requesting and must indicate whether equipment for providing electronic communication is reasonably available to both parents. The bill also provides that, if a parent is proposing to move with the child and the other parent objects to the move, the court may not use the availability of electronic communication as a factor in support of a modification of physical placement or a refusal to prohibit the parent from moving with the child."
 

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2005 − 2006 LEGISLATURE

2005 SENATE BILL 244

June 21, 2005 − Introduced by Senators STEPP, GROTHMAN and DARLING,

cosponsored by Representatives VOS, J. FITZGERALD, GRONEMUS, LEMAHIEU,

NASS, STRACHOTA, MCCORMICK, BALLWEG, AINSWORTH, HAHN, NISCHKE,

SHERIDAN, LEHMAN and MUSSER. Referred to Committee on Health, Children,

Families, Aging and Long Term Care.

AN ACT to renumber and amend 767.327 (5m); to amend 767.24 (1m) (L); and

to create 767.001 (1g), 767.23 (1) (ap), 767.24 (1m) (Lm), 767.24 (4) (e) and

767.327 (5m) (b) of the statutes; relating to: granting a parent electronic

communication with a child.

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

Under current law, in a divorce or legal separation in which a minor child is

involved, and in a paternity action, the court must grant sole legal custody of the

child to one parent or joint legal custody to both parents together. In addition, the

court must allocate between the parents periods of physical placement, which is the

condition under which the child is physically placed with the parent and the parent

has the right and responsibility during that time to care for, and make routine daily

decisions concerning, the child. The court may deny a parent periods of physical

placement with the child only if being physically placed with the parent would

endanger the childís physical, mental, or emotional health.

This bill provides that, if the court grants periods of physical placement to both

parents, the court may grant to a parent a reasonable amount of electronic

communication at reasonable hours during the other parentís periods of physical

placement with the child. Electronic communication is defined as time during which

a parent and his or her child communicate by using various types of communication

tools, such as the telephone, electronic mail, instant messaging, and video

conferencing or other wired or wireless technologies via the Internet. The basis for

granting electronic communication is whether it is in the childís best interest and

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SENATE BILL 244

whether equipment for providing electronic communication is reasonably available

to both parents. Electronic communication may be used only to supplement, and not

as a substitute or replacement for, the physical placement that a parent has with the

child.

The bill provides that a parenting plan that a party files with the court before

a pretrial conference when legal custody or physical placement is contested must

include any electronic communication a parent is requesting and must indicate

whether equipment for providing electronic communication is reasonably available

to both parents. The bill also provides that, if a parent is proposing to move with the

child and the other parent objects to the move, the court may not use the availability

of electronic communication as a factor in support of a modification of physical

placement or a refusal to prohibit the parent from moving with the child.

The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do

enact as follows:

SECTION 1. 767.001 (1g) of the statutes is created to read:

767.001 (1g) ďElectronic communicationĒ means time during which a parent

and his or her child communicate by using communication tools such as the

telephone, electronic mail, instant messaging, video conferencing or other wired or

wireless technologies via the Internet, or another medium of communication.

SECTION 2. 767.23 (1) (ap) of the statutes is created to read:

767.23 (1) (ap) Upon the request of a party, granting periods of electronic

communication to a party in a manner consistent with s. 767.24. The court or circuit

court commissioner shall make a determination under this paragraph within 30

days after the request for a temporary order regarding periods of electronic

communication is filed.

SECTION 3. 767.24 (1m) (L) of the statutes is amended to read:

767.24 (1m) (L) Whether and how the child will be able to contact the other

parent when the child has physical placement with the parent providing the

parenting plan, and what electronic communication, if any, the parent is seeking.

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SENATE BILL 244 SECTION 4

SECTION 4. 767.24 (1m) (Lm) of the statutes is created to read:

767.24 (1m) (Lm) Whether equipment for providing electronic communication

is reasonably available to both parents.

SECTION 5. 767.24 (4) (e) of the statutes is created to read:

767.24 (4) (e) If the court grants periods of physical placement to more than one

parent, the court may grant to either or both parents a reasonable amount of

electronic communication at reasonable hours during the other parentís periods of

physical placement with the child. Electronic communication with the child may be

used only to supplement a parentís periods of physical placement with the child.

Electronic communication may not be used as a replacement or as a substitute for

a parentís periods of physical placement with the child. Granting a parent electronic

communication with the child during the other parentís periods of physical

placement shall be based on whether it is in the childís best interest and whether

equipment for providing electronic communication is reasonably available to both

parents.

SECTION 6. 767.327 (5m) of the statutes is renumbered 767.327 (5m) (intro.)

and amended to read:

767.327 (5m) DISCRETIONARY OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER. (intro.) In making

a determination under sub. (3), the:

(a) The court may consider the childís adjustment to the home, school, religion

and community.

SECTION 7. 767.327 (5m) (b) of the statutes is created to read:

767.327 (5m) (b) The court may not use the availability of electronic

communication as a factor in support of a modification of a physical placement order

or in support of a refusal to prohibit a move.

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SENATE BILL 244 SECTION 8

SECTION 8.0Initial applicability.

(1) PARENTING PLANS. The treatment of section 767.24 (1m) (Lm) of the statutes

first applies to parenting plans filed with the court on the effective date of this

subsection.

(END)

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