To create a parenting plan in which both parents can reach an agreement is a great feat within itself. But when parents live hundreds or thousands of miles apart - whether it be in different areas of the U.S. or across the globe - things can get much more complicated. The good news is that there is no one-size-fits-all parenting plan that every family must adhere to, so you have a variety of options. With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can customize a plan that accommodates your child's needs and each parent's preferences as a long-distance family.
Highlighting Potential Issues
With all there is to consider in a parenting plan, where do you begin? Identifying and figuring out ways to resolve key issues is a great start.
When couples separate or divorce, and one parent chooses to relocate, a number of significant issues are created for your family. Matters like travel time, schedules, custody, and visitation require different conversations for long-distance families than those required for parents who live in the same area. Since there are more hurdles to jump over in long-distance circumstances, it is imperative that the parenting plan is nothing less than thorough and intentional. Too much room for interpretation will result in misunderstanding, and that could lead you down a costly and time-consuming road to court. To avoid making this mistake, make sure your family plan addresses the following issues:
Communication: Determine how the children will consistently communicate with their long-distance parent. Agree to carve out some time in your schedules and the children's schedules to have daily phone calls, weekly video chats, text messages, etc. to establish regular contact.
Travel expenses: Traveling is expensive. This is why it's important to be clear about how each of you will pay for transportation fees.
Travel arrangements: Once you decide how the trips will be paid for, you can make arrangements concerning when and how you'll travel. Will the children travel between parents, or will the distant parent do most of the traveling? Will you travel by bus, by car or by plane? All these details, no matter how small, should be included in your parenting plan.
Visitation boundaries and specifics: Once the visiting parent gets into town, how will the visitation be conducted. Perhaps the visiting parent will stay in the home with the children and the co-parent, or maybe you'll both make arrangements for the visiting parent to stay in a hotel or Airbnb. Whatever you choose, make sure this plan is established well ahead of time to avoid issues.
School: Children are in school for most of the year. Above all, if your children are grade-school aged, the parenting plan should accommodate all of their educational needs. For example, if a visiting parent is free to take off a week during the school year, it may not be feasible for the child to be out of school for that long. School should obviously be a major factor when making decisions and should be included in the parenting plan.
Get Started Today
Sharing parenting time is almost always difficult, even for the most amicable co-parents. This is why it's important to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional. Create a solid parenting plan with the help of New Jersey family law attorney Joseph D. Lento. Schedule a consultation today online or by phone at 888-535-3686.