How To Create A Long-Distance Parenting Plan
While every family’s situation is unique, there are several common factors in most long-distance parenting situations that co-parents should be aware of. These factors should be discussed and decided on, ideally, before one parent moves away.
Long-Distance Parenting Considerations
In cases where divorced parents live in the same area, they often share custody of their children, moving them between houses every few days, or the children might primarily live with one parent and visit with the other on a regular basis.
However, when one parent lives in another state, or even another country, creating a comprehensive and thoughtful parenting plan is even more critical. In this situation, the following factors should be resolved before either parent relocates:
If children are in school, a long-distance parenting plan needs to accommodate their educational needs. In other words, just because one parent takes a week off work to visit, removing a child from school for that week might not be a viable option.
Will the children travel between parents, or will one parent travel to where the children live? Consider these options and find a workable compromise.
When a visit is arranged, who will pay for the cost of travel? Parents might split the cost of travel, especially if the child is flying to visit a parent, but not always. Co-parents should have a clear agreement on this point before making arrangements.
How will the children communicate with their long-distance parent? They may want to schedule daily phone calls, weekly video chats, emails, or some other form of communication to maintain regular contact.
If the long-distance parent will visit the children’s home, make sure there’s a clear understanding of how that visit will be handled.
Will the visiting parent stay in the home with the children and their co-parent, or will they stay elsewhere? Or, will the visiting parent bring the children with them to another residence? Whatever the arrangement, make sure it’s been established well ahead of time.
Working With An Attorney
In many cases creating a long-distance parenting plan will be considerably easier if one or both parents enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney. Because divorce is such a complex and emotional issue, it’s not always easy to create a plan that is fair to both parents without the help of a third party.
At Vonder Haar Law, we have extensive experience helping separated parents craft a parenting plan that is fair to them and, most importantly, their children. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today for a free consultation.
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