If you’re going to be living some distance from your co-parent and your child after your divorce, it’s crucial to have clear provisions for communication with your child in your parenting plan. Long-distance parents often have to work harder to maintain a close relationship with their kids – especially when they can’t be with them for months at a time.
Fortunately, we have a variety of technology today that allows parents to have “virtual parenting time” with their kids from anywhere in the world. However, the other parent has to facilitate these visits if the kids are younger – or at least not hinder them.
What provisions should you include in your parenting plan?
When you detail your communications provisions, you may want to designate things like how often your virtual parenting time will take place, what time(s) of the day, through what app (FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and so forth) and if the other parent will be present during the call. Be sure you allow for time zone differences. You may also want to have provisions for “make-up” time if something comes up that you or your child can’t be available when a call is scheduled.
It’s crucial for both parents to adhere to their plan. For the parent who’s the primary caregiver, that means picking up when their co-parent is calling their child and making the child available. Parents who regularly ignore these calls or repeatedly claim the child is out, asleep, not feeling well or doesn’t want to talk can potentially be considered in violation of the parenting plan.
The long-distance parent also needs to adhere to the agreement. That means not trying to contact the child without their co-parent knowing and not making a habit of calling multiple times a day unscheduled. It’s also wise to keep these parent-child visits separate from the communication you need to have as parents.
If you’re going to be your child’s primary caregiver, remember that sometimes you’ll likely be the long-distance parent. Your child may spend holiday and summer breaks with their other parent. You want to be able to visit with your child as scheduled.
A communication plan is crucial if both parents are going to be part of their children’s lives. Having legal guidance as you outline the details can help you lookout for what’s best for your child