After a divorce, it isn’t uncommon for parents to end up some distance from each other. One parent may be pursuing a career to make life better for his or her children while the other parent thinks that it is more important to stick close to family, friends and other sources of support. Naturally, parents who are a distance from their children worry that they’re going to lose those precious parent-child bonds.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Even if a parent is going to be at a distance from their kids most of the year, there are ways to manage the situation. Plans can even be written into your custody agreement to offer reassurance, provide guidelines for behavior and settle visitation disputes.
Here are some of the questions you should discuss with your attorney when planning for long-distance visitation with your child in a custody plan:
- Who will do the traveling? If the child will travel to the other parent’s home, at what age do you and the other parent agree that the child can travel alone? It’s better to clarify that issue before a problematic incident occurs.
- Who will pay for the travel? Whether the child travels by plane, bus or a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft, the costs can add up. Those costs should probably be divided by both parents unless one is in a far better financial position than the other.
- Should another person be allowed visitation in your place? If you’re in the military, for example, you may be gone on duty for an extended period of time. You may want to designate someone else — like a grandparent, sibling or another relative — to visit in your place.
- Can Skype or other methods of electronic communication be useful? Thanks to the wonders of the digital age, it’s often possible to have contact with a child every day or night via instant messaging, video chats and more.
Don’t let the idea of long-distance parenting make you believe that it’s impossible to be a good parent. You may be surprised what you can work out.