A long-distance parenting plan requires the ability of each ex-partner to carefully consider the daily lives of all parties involved, including the children.
An effective parenting plan should provide everyone involved with as much opportunity as needed to maintain their relationships through regular contact.
Here are some effective ways to ensure you and your ex-partner have a cohesive parenting plan:
The first and most important way to create a long-distance parenting plan is to maintain communication. Not just with the parents, but with the children as well. For example, your child wins a special award at school. One of the first things the primary parent should do is either let the child contact the other parent or send a picture of the award. Keeping the other parent in the loop better ensures their relationship with the child will remain strong.
Depending on how far the non-custodial parent lives, it may be difficult to physically see the child every week, or even every other week. A monthly (or semi-monthly) visit will aid in maintaining a strong connection with the child. The non-custodial parent could either travel to the home state of the child or have the child travel to them. Either way, it’s important to ensure your child gets to spend time with both parents on more occasions than just holidays and school breaks, if possible.
If you decide to fly or drive your child to visit, it’s a good idea to set up transportation rules beforehand to prevent anything from going wrong.
If your child will be driven to your residence, your plan could include:
- who is responsible for driving your child to and/or from visitation;
- where you will meet your ex-partner to exchange your child;
- how the cost or amount of driving will be split (if at all); and
- who is allowed to drive your child to and/or from visitation.
If your child will be flying to your home, your plan could include:
- ensuring your child takes a direct flight;
- ensuring an airline employee will watch over your child during the flight;
- naming specific airlines the child will be using;
- notifying each other when and where a flight has been booked;
- making sure there is a strict pick up/drop off plan for the child at the airport;
- deciding which parent will pay for the tickets; and
- deciding which parent is in charge of travel arrangements.
Every parent would like their child to be with them during important holidays. It’s vital that each parent spend at least one major holiday with their child. For example, if Christmas is a big deal to both parents, perhaps the schedule could alternate every year so each parent has a chance to celebrate with their child; or maybe Thanksgiving is more important to one parent than it is to the other. In this case, the schedule could plan for that parent to always have their child with them on Thanksgiving.
Consult Smith Law Offices, LLC for Help
If you are in the midst of making a long-distance parenting plan, consult our co-parenting attorneys. We can guide you and your former spouse in creating an effective plan that will make all parties involved happy.
Call our firm today at (636) 400-1177 or contact us online for a consultation.