Creating an Interstate Parenting Plan
Interstate parenting plans include all the basic custody issues plus the added challenges of providing quality parenting time when there is a considerable distance between one parent and the children.
You can create your own parenting plan alone or with the other parent or you can work with an attorney or legal professional to create one. If you don't want to pay the high cost for an attorney, and want to make your own agreement, use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates parenting plans. You make each part of your agreement, and then you can print professional documents of your plan.
An interstate parenting plan is one that allows parents who live in two different states to work together to raise their children and provide stable and loving environments for them. It also regulates the time and place for visitations between the two residences.
Each state is in charge of family law for people who live there. When you and the other parent live in separate states or will after your divorce, you need to create an interstate parenting plan that will accommodate your unique circumstances.
Because each state's family law may differ from another, it's a good idea to work with an attorney who can navigate the critical aspects of family law in your state and in the other parent's state.
Ultimately, your children's best interests are the most important aspect of any parenting plan. When you are dealing with interstate challenges, just keep in mind that your children need positive interaction with both parents in order to develop into successful, healthy adults.
The extra challenges with an interstate parenting plan usually include overcoming the distance between your households. These are usually not something that divorcing parents who live in the same city have to deal with.
Every parenting plan should include age appropriate visitations, but time, cost and distance can make frequent visits difficult.
Here are a few of the extra challenges that divorced parents must resolve when creating an interstate parenting plan:
- How often the children will visit the distant parent
- How and when the children will travel to the distant parent's home
- How and when the distant parent travels to the children's residential city
- Where the distant parent stays when in the children's residential city
- Who pays for transportation costs
- What happens when a visitation must be cancelled, such as for a sick child
- Whether children are old enough to have lengthy distant visitations
- How the distant parent communicates with children when they are not visiting
Because of the distance involved in interstate custody, it is often impractical or unwise for very young children to stay away from the custodial parent for long. The challenges surrounding the distant parent's desire to spend quality time with the children increase if they are younger, such as under 8 years old.
Look at examples of interstate parenting plans to get ideas on how others have solved the challenges. Use Custody X Change software to help you and the other parent create an interstate parenting plan using the detailed templates provided.
Above all, recognize that parents should do everything possible to remain involved in their children's lives, even if they are living far away.
The most important thing you need to know about interstate parenting plans is that your divorce proceedings, of which the plan is a part, must follow the laws of your state. While each state has common regulations concerning divorce and child custody, your main concern is for your own state.
Here is some key information you must understand as you prepare an interstate parenting plan:
- If you live in one state, you may file for divorce based on your state's residency requirements. If the other parent lives in another state, he or she is subject to that state's law regarding residence requirements.
- Generally, divorce proceedings take place in the state where your children reside. However, it can also depend on who started the divorce proceedings and where.
- Every state in the country has a version of interstate family support laws, which provide legal consistency between the family courts in different places. This helps them to deal more uniformly with interstate child custody cases.
Family courts prefer to handle all of the divorce, custody and support issues in one state. However, you can work with an attorney to work with two court jurisdictions, depending upon the circumstances.
When you or the other parent must move out of state, you can petition for a modification to your existing parenting plan. The family court recognizes that sometimes life changes require one parent to move, and will work with you to provide what is best for your children despite the distance.
Life changes that may cause you to move out of state include:
- New job
- Expanded business opportunities
- Current job transfer or promotion
- Remarriage to someone living in another state
- Seeking family support
- Distancing yourself from negative situations
A long distance parenting plan is quite different than a standard plan where you and the other parent live in the same area. You'll most likely need to start from scratch when creating an interstate parenting plan. Custody X Change software can help you work out an interstate parenting plan by providing templates that cover a range of topics.
Because of the physical distance between you and the other parent, the family court is unlikely to award joint physical custody of your children. In most cases, one parent would be awarded sole physical custody.
The amount of travel between the two locations that joint physical custody would require is usually seen by the court as too disruptive to the children. Also, most parents cannot shoulder the expense that joint physical custody would require.
There's no reason why joint legal custody wouldn't work in an interstate parenting plan, and many parents request this type of shared responsibility.
Joint legal custody encompasses the rights by both parents to be involved in making decisions concerning:
- Religious upbringing
- Medical care
- Extracurricular involvement
- Sports participation
- Travel outside the country
Your interstate parenting plan with joint legal custody should require that you and the other parent must consult with each other before important decisions are made concerning your children.
Make it clear in your interstate parenting plan that each of you must first contact the other parent before making an important decision affecting the child. Once you reach an agreement, you can proceed.
If your interstate parenting plan is not working out for you, the other parent or the children, you can always request the family court to modify the plan. Because this is new parenting territory for you, the current parenting plan may need some adjusting to put the children's best interests forward..
To revise the current parenting plan, create a sample interstate parenting plan that reflects the revisions you want to see. Use Custody X Change software for a clear, comprehensive document that you can print out.
File the proper paperwork with the family court, then appear at a hearing to answer questions. If the judge finds that the current plan is no longer adequate and your solution solves the problem, he or she is likely to approve the modifications.
Above all, you must show that the current plan is somehow not meeting the children's best interests and that your solutions are the answer to providing your children with a more reliable schedule and a better environment.