Out of State Child Custody and Visitation Schedules
Figuring out the child visitation schedule is tricky for any situation, but when one parent moves out of state it gets even more complicated. However, a parent moving out of state doesn’t mean a schedule can’t be figured out. Parents just need to be more creative in implementing visitation and contact between the children and parents.
Before moving out of state, a parent should assess the custody situation. If the parent who wants to move does not have custody of the children, they should discuss the move with the custodial parent. Determining a schedule will be much easier if both parents are on the same page about visitation. This means that the parent who wants to move needs to explain the necessity of the move to the other parent, along with explaining the desire to continue to see the child. In some cases, the parent may need to get permission from the court before moving. This is a good idea because it ensures that the parent will still have visitation rights.
If a custodial parent wants to move, they must get permission from the court and from the other parent. Because the custodial parent is most likely taking the child away from the parent, this can be more complicated. Again, the mother and father should discuss the necessity of the move and the benefits it will have for the children. The parent who is moving should ensure the other parent that they will still have visitation, and they should work together to make that happen.
Out of state child visitation schedules usually mean that the child visits the non-custodial parent less frequently for longer durations of time. A common arrangement is to have the children live with the custodial parent during the school year and visit the other parent during summers. If this long visit doesn’t work for the children (some children have activities during the summer, and older children sometimes get jobs) than the parents should work out a shorter vacation time to come and visit. Parents can also schedule longer visits during the breaks during the school year–like fall, Christmas, and spring break. This assumes that the child is old enough to travel alone.
Parents who live out of state can also visit the child in the child’s home state. This is a good idea when the parent’s traveling schedule is more flexible than the child’s. If this type of visit occurs, the parents need to work out where the visiting parent will stay, when they will see the children, etc.
Another option is to have the custodial parent and the child visit the state of the non-custodial parent. In this case, the custodial parent can have a vacation or break while the child visits with the other parent.
When determine out of state custody schedules, parents need to talk about how they will handle expenses. The parents need to decide how they will pay for the child to travel, the expense of the parents traveling, etc. This is an important issue to work out before visits start.
Fortunately, the technology of the day allows people to stay connected even when they live far away from each other. A parent who moves out of state should utilize any means to stay in contact with the child. The parent should call regularly–even have a schedule of when to call, communicate over email, send letters, get a computer camera and talk online, send text messages, etc. This way the parent can still be involved with the child.