Long distance parenting can be a challenging situation. It’s hard being separated from your kids, and the distance can lead to resentment and friction with your co-parent. Regardless of your custodial status, here are a few tips for making long distance parenting work.
- Have a good parenting plan in place. One of the first things to establish is a custody agreement with a solid parenting plan. Having this in place from the beginning will help you avoid conflict between you and your co-parent by creating a written plan for you both to follow. A well-thought-out parenting plan will establish everything from a schedule of when you each have parenting time with your child and to how you share the holidays with your child, to who is responsible for making decisions regarding your child’s health and education.
- Split the time fairly. As you negotiate the parenting plan with your co-parent, it’s important to remember that long distance parenting has some disadvantages. In Arizona, however, decisions are made in the best interests of the child, and the courts believe that in most cases, it’s in the child’s best interests to maintain relationships with both parents. To this end, efforts should be made to divide the time as fairly as possible between the two parents, without disrupting the child’s need for stability and to be in school. In most long distance parenting arrangements, the child stays with one parent while in school, spends school vacations with the other parent, and alternates holidays between the two parents.
- Stay in touch with your child. Whether you have your child during the school year or during school vacations, it’s important to stay in touch with your child year round. Most long distance parenting plans support and even encourage parents to talk to their children frequently while the other parent has physical custody. Especially if you only see your child during school vacations, regular communication will help to maintain a strong relationship throughout the rest of the year.
- Take advantage of technology. Fortunately, modern technology provides a lot more opportunities for long distance parents to stay in touch than they used to have. Long distance phone calls aren’t as expensive as they used to be, plus there are many options for video conferencing so that you and your child can feel like you’re talking more “in person.” Even adult-supervised social media apps, such as Messenger Kids, provide a way to stay in more regular contact with your child.
- Communicate with your co-parent. Of course, your child isn’t the only one you need to stay in touch with. Good communication with your co-parent will help make the entire situation more sustainable for both parents. Especially if you are required to make decisions together, talking regularly will help keep the long distance parent in the loop and prevent the primary caregiver from feeling like they’re doing it all by themselves.
Setting up a long distance parenting agreement can be a delicate process, and many co-parents need the assistance of attorneys. Professional input and guidance helps by taking the emotion and conflict out of the negotiations as much as possible. For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.