Long Distance Custody Agreements
You can write up your own custody agreement (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can 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.
When parents live with distance between them they will need to make special arrangements in order for the absent parent to maintain a relationship with and spend time with the child.
Due to the costs and time constraints of travel, children in long distance custody arrangements typically live with one parent the majority of the time and may spend extended periods of time with the other parent.
Many parents take advantage of school vacations and have extended visits during summer vacation and other school breaks such as winter vacation and spring break. Some parents also make periodic trips throughout the year to come visit their child when they can.
Custody X Change is designed to help you create the best possible custody arrangements for your child regardless of the distance between the parents. You can use Custody X Change to create an entire schedule a year in advance and then set the schedule to repeat as desired.
You will need to decide who will be responsible for paying for your child's travel and transportation expenses.
It may seem appropriate for the parent that moved away from the child to be responsible for the travel expenses. After all, the parent that moved away from the child is the parent responsible for creating the need for the child to travel.
Some parents agree to split the travel expenses and will even drive to a halfway point to exchange the child.
Regardless of who is going to be paying for the trips, if you want to avoid confusion in the future you should document your agreement. This can be done easily when you use Custody X Change.
Custody X Change will enable you to include stipulations in your parenting agreement that address travel expenses as well as other details such as how the child will be transported.
Parenting is not only a right, it is a responsibility. There should be no such thing as “out of sight, out of mind” when it pertains to a child. An absent parent has an obligation to remain actively involved in his or her child's life.
The distanced parent should make an effort to contact the child on a regular basis. Today's technology provides parents with multiple options of communication to choose from. Social media is a great way to stay in touch, especially since you can share pictures.
Your child can also use instant messaging, e-mail, texts, speak on the phone, and even utilize video chat applications such as FaceTime and Skype to keep in touch with the other parent.
The mail is a nice way to keep in touch, as well. Your child will enjoy sending and receiving letters, pictures, and postcards to and from the other parent.
Technology allows a parent to play a game with their child, check out her new missing tooth, and read her a bedtime story from across the country and even the other side of the world. A parent that moves away from their child should take advantage of the available forms of communication and make sure their child has access to the necessary equipment.
You can use the journaling features of Custody X Change to keep track of how often you contact your child and whether or not there have been any problems. This feature allows you to keep track of what actually happens and may be useful should you have to return to court.
When a parent moves away from the child or a parent moves the child away from the other parent, both parents should work to ensure the parental bonds between the distanced parent and the child remain strong.
The custodial parent should make an effort to help the child keep in touch with the other parent. The primary parent should not attempt to interfere with the other parent's communication efforts. He or she should allow the child to contact the other parent whenever the child wants to speak to him or her.
The custodial parent should also make the child available when the other parent attempts to contact him or her. Any attempts to prevent the other parent from contacting the child are harmful to the child. Children need both parents actively involved in their lives.
The primary parent should also allow the child to have some privacy during this parental communication and should never use the child to relay messages and other information to the other parent. The parents should communicate with each other on their own time in the manner that they feel is best.
Custody X Change allows you to include additional stipulations in your custody agreement. You may include rules that address communication between the child and the distanced parent. You should clearly state the methods of communication that will be used to keep in touch with the child as well as the frequency of the contact.
If there are expenses involved with communicating with the child, you may want to make sure your custody agreement contains provisions that state which parent will be responsible for the costs of the equipment and / or services required to keep in touch with the child.