The dissolution of a marriage not only affects the divorcing couple but also any children in the family. Divorce often creates new living situations due to new jobs for the parents, which can result in a different school environment for kids. In some cases, one of the divorcing parents may move out of the family’s town or even out of the state. If you are facing a long-distance relationship with your child, speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney to learn about your rights and options and how a parenting plan can resolve these important issues.
What Is a Long-Distance Parenting Plan?
During a divorce, there are many details to sort out, and a divorce with children in the picture can be even more complex. The important child-related matters that parents will need to address include parenting time (formerly known as visitation) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody).
Determining visiting schedules can be complicated when one parent lives many miles from the child. Luckily, it is possible to draft a parenting plan that takes the long-distance relationship into consideration. A long-distance parenting plan is one that meets the needs of all involved parties (especially the child) while reducing the emotional turmoil (stress from not seeing a parent or moving away from other family members or friends). The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act requires that all parenting plans, long-distance or otherwise, be created in the best interests of the child.
Tips for Drafting a Long-Distance Parenting Plan
It is important for a parent and child to stay connected, and an ongoing relationship will provide them with emotional and mental benefits. Staying connected helps to keep the parent-child bond strong. There are many ways to improve a long-distance parenting plan, including the following:
Prioritize in-person visits: Even if a parent lives far away, it is important to have regular in-person time with their child, whether this occurs on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Depending on the distance between parent and child, consider the possibility of hosting your child for his or her school break. Other important in-person events include school graduations, music recitals, theatrical performances, and championship games.
Keep pristine travel details: When a long-distance parent is planning to spend time with his or her child, it is crucial for all parties to fully understand the travel plans, schedules, and other details. This ensures that all parties are informed about what is happening, and it can help avoid potential misunderstandings. In addition to the specifics of dates and times, it is also important to discuss other details, such as who will pay for the child’s transportation, which parent is responsible for making travel reservations, and the protocols for any changes in the arrangements.
Include virtual visits: Even though it may not be possible to have an in-person visit with children as much as a parent would like, virtual meetings can help fill the gaps. Skype, FaceTime, or other video applications allow parents to see their child’s face on a regular and frequent basis and remain involved in their lives.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
At A. Traub & Associates, we work hard to ensure that a child of divorce has fair and plentiful time with both of his or her parents. As experienced family law attorneys, we can guide you through the parenting plan process by analyzing your unique situation. In addition to explaining your options, we will help you craft a long-distance parenting plan that meets your needs and protects your children’s best interests. To schedule a confidential consultation, call our Lombard, IL parenting time lawyers today at 630-426-0196.