A Father’s Word About Out of State Custody
This post is from an interview I did with a father whose children live out of state. He shares his feelings about out of state custody along with what he wishes he did when creating a custody schedule with his ex-wife. No two situations are 100% the same but hopefully this post will help guide you in making the right decisions for yourself.
Mike was happily married for five years when his wife informed him she did not want to be married any more. He was devastated. Things were not perfect but he was fully committed to doing whatever it took to make the marriage work. His wife was done and did not want to try and fix things. She moved out and took the children with her back to her home state.
The divorce proceedings moved forward and everything was settled amicably. His ex-wife and children moved in with her parents and other siblings. Mike agreed to the arrangement and gave permission for the children to move with their mother. Both parents agreed it would only be temporary until she could get a job and move out with the children on her own.
Three years have passed and Mike finished graduate school. He has a wonderful job working for the state in which he lives. He also met and married an amazing woman and is very happy. His ex-wife and children are still living with her parents. Mike talks to his kids every day on the phone and sees them every other weekend.
Mike’s Current Feelings
Mike expressed to me his sorrow and frustration about the situation. He does not like that his children are still living at his former in-laws home. He also feels that he has such a little say in how his children are being raised because he is not in the home and lives far away.
Although he talks to his children each day, it is not enough to really know them. The kids are young and often just talk for a minute or two and are done. He said sometimes he is overwhelmed with flooding grief regarding his children and wants nothing more than to be with them.
Mike would move and live close to his kids but the state they live in does not have the same programs as the one he is in. It would take a couple more years and additional certification for that to even be an option.
Mike’s Recommendations for You
1. Do not live out of state or a long distance from your children if possible. He says to think long and hard about how not having you near will affect their upbringing. Realize if you are not around, they will be raised very similar to how the other parent was. There will be very little influence from you.
2. Get as close to your children as you can. Many parents choose to live a long distance so they don’t have to be near each other. Do not allow this to be the reason to be apart from your children. It is easy enough to have distance by living on opposite sides of town.
3. Make all the efforts you can to have a good relationship with your children. There may not be choice of living close by but there are many ways you can create a strong relationship with your children.
4. Get everything in writing when initially creating your out of state custody schedule. He did not want his children to be living with his former in-laws for longer than six months to a year but because it was not written down, his children are still there.
5. Have a visual calendar for your children. Have a calendar to show your children of the custody schedule. It helps them to see when they will be visiting the other parent next. It helps to prevent anxiety and stress on your kids. Plus they can see there is time with the parent who lives further away. The software from Custody X Change is a great way to do this.
Each of us have our own situation in our lives. Mike’s story is meant to be an opportunity for you to learn from someone who has been there and had some difficult situations. Hopefully, you will be able to use his experiences to help you be better prepared for living out of state from your children.