Parenting your child is never easy, and it can be even more challenging when you share parenting responsibilities with someone who lives in another state. You may be currently be going through a divorce or revising your child custody and support agreements when one parent moves out of state. During this time, it is especially important to make a plan that balances your child’s needs and allows both you and your ex to maintain an active, loving relationship with your child.
When one parent moves, your child custody may change drastically.
Parenting at a distance is a challenge, and it is important that you fully consider your child’s needs when creating a custody arrangement, establishing child support and making a parenting plan.
If your child currently attends school, for example, you and your former spouse need to create a plan that supports their education needs. This could mean dividing custody based on weekdays and weekends or creating a plan for the child to spend more time with their out-of-state parent during summer and winter school vacations. The court may decide to transfer physical custody to one parent rather than continuing joint custody.
These changes in your custody and your child’s needs will probably result in a review and adjustment of your child support order. While this can be an emotionally and financially challenging arrangement to modify, keep in mind that these changes will help to ensure that your child’s needs are met.
Parenting long-distance can be expensive.
While living in a different state from your children, you will also need to consider travel plans and expenses. Who will pay for transportation between states? Will you and your former spouse each drive to a central location to share the cost of transportation, or will your child fly from one state to another?
Consider technology as a part of your agreement.
While in-person parenting may be a challenge when you or your former spouse lives in a different state from your child, you can establish a virtual visitation schedule that allows you to make contact regularly. Set up a plan for phone calls, video chats or emails that allow you to maintain a relationship with your child.
If finding common ground with your spouse is a challenge, consider working with a mediator to create an agreement that does what is best for your child. With careful planning, you can support your child and maintain a strong relationship with them, even if you live in different states.