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How can you make long-distance parenting work?

Whether one parent relocates for a job, to take care of their ailing parent or because of a new marriage, they might find themselves farther away from their children than they would like to be. However, it is still possible for parents to be involved in their child’s life, even if they live out of state.

Long-distance parenting after a divorce can be challenging, but here are some tips to help long-distance parents navigate these circumstances.

Parents must make a new parenting agreement

No matter where a parent lives, they generally still have a right to be involved in their child’s life. The parent moving away can consult the other parent and an attorney to revise their parenting agreement and establish several details, including but not limited to:

  • A new visitation and parenting schedule that meets the family’s new needs and circumstances;
  • An agreement and plan for how parents will communicate about the child’s life, their education and their activities; and
  • A plan for how the local parent will involve the relocating parent when making important decisions in the child’s life.

Adjusting the parenting and custody agreement is necessary, no matter which parent is relocating.

Try virtual visitation

Technology can be an important tool for long-distance parents. It is much easier to keep in contact with loved ones, no matter where they are, now that almost everyone has cellphones and other electronic devices, like computers and iPads.

Parents can text their child every day, and they can also schedule specific visitation time using technology, known as virtual visitation. This often includes phone calls or video chats between the parent and the child that allow them to:

  • Have regular conversations;
  • Read stories or play games together; and
  • Engage in other fulfilling activities together.

Virtual visitation may allow parents and children to see each other face-to-face from wherever they are, but it is not the same as physical visitation. It is still essential for the relocating parent and the children to have in-person visitation. However, virtual visitation can be incredibly helpful for parents to maintain the important relationship they have with their children.