Going through a divorce and subsequent child custody battle is difficult enough. Long-distance co-parenting can feel even harder. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate long-distance co-parenting with relative ease:
Tip: Create a Detailed Schedule
The first step you can take toward organized, long-distance co-parenting is to create a detailed schedule. Understand that you might not always be able to attend your child’s soccer game or piano recital, but you will be able to share the important moments.
Initially, you will want to create a solid schedule of visitation time. Maybe once a month or — if the distance is greater — once every three or four months. Determine which holidays will be shared between parents and who will travel each time.
It is important to consider more than in-person visitation periods when designing your schedule. Make a note of important milestones in your child’s life and be sure to reach out as they pass. Birthdays and holidays should not go unnoticed, and you should attempt to contact your child weekly.
Tip: Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are many ways to communicate with your child outside of a traditional phone call. You can also video chat with Skype or Facebook Messenger, send pictures with Snapchat, or play games together. Some games played on your phone, like Hayday, allow you to interact with your child regularly in a kid-friendly environment.
When it comes to important school projects and homework, you can use Google Drive to check and discuss your child’s progress. Family pictures can be stored and shared through the cloud. Long-distance families have this technological leg-up over previous generations, so take advantage.
Perhaps the most important step of the process is developing a strong line of communication, both between yourself and your child and — if possible — between yourself and your ex-spouse. Divorce can be complicated, but the friendlier the communication between you and your ex-spouse, the better for your child’s emotional well-being.
There will inevitably be times when your visits do not go as planned. For example, your child may be sick and cannot see you, or maybe you have to work and cannot make the trip yourself. In these situations, it is imperative that you communicate openly and do not project your frustrations onto your child.
Tip: Consider Unique Arrangements
When both ex-spouses live nearby, children often spend every other weekend (or every other week) with each parent. But for parents that live in different states, this may be impossible.
One parent will, for the sake of ease, be the primary caregiver. The child will attend school in their state and have a room in their house. You can arrange for one parent to have their child during summer break and holidays — but, as your child grows, this arrangement may become more difficult.
Remember that your family does not have to fit any “normal” expectations. Let your schedule adapt to your needs by evaluating your schedule on a case-by-case basis. If you need assistance in making these decisions, our San Jose family law lawyer can help.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney for Assistance
Long-distance co-parenting may seem impossible at first. However, with the right assistance and a strong family dynamic, these relationships can thrive. For professional advice, contact our team at the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich by calling (408) 844-4016. You can also fill out our online contact form.