A lot of divorced parents struggle with the separation from their children — especially when they can’t have shared physical custody for some reason. Whether the situation is temporary because of illness or there’s a long-term issue — like a job in another state — you still want to do everything you can to preserve the parent-child relationship you have and build on it.
Here are some tips that can help you make long-distancing parenting actually work:
- Ask for daily contact. If your parenting plan doesn’t already allow you to reach out to your children every single day via phone, email, Skype, Messenger or social media, it should. Daily contact is the best way to stay in touch with the ups-and-downs in your child’s world.
- Make it possible for your child to reach you without restrictions. It isn’t fair, for example, for their other parent to take their phone away as a punishment if that’s the only way that your teen has to reach you when they need to talk.
- Insist on privacy for communications. Your child has a right to speak with you without their other parent hovering over them. If your child is younger, their other parent may need to set up communications or dial the phone, but they should then back off and let you and your child interact without supervision.
- Agree on visitation and transportation for long-haul issues. If you’re going to be away for a while, you may want to arrange for summer visitation over a few weeks or holiday visits. Make sure you discuss how transportation will be handled and who will pay the costs.
If you’re struggling to work out an agreement with your ex that makes long-distance parenting more palatable, it may be time to get a little legal assistance.