Long Distance Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (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 schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules and parenting plans. You make each part of your schedule, and then you can print your calendar and plan.
As your child's parents, you will be given the opportunity to create your child's visitation schedule as you see fit. As long as both parents are in agreement, your visitation schedule may be as unique as your child is.
If you would like an idea of what some other parents are doing, the following sample schedule may give you some ideas to consider and build upon:
- The child will spend Spring Break with the non-custodial parent each year.
- The child will spend the first thirty days of summer vacation with the non-custodial parent.
- The child will spend an additional two weeks of summer vacation with the non-custodial parent near the end of summer.
- The child will spend Fall Break with the non-custodial parent in even years.
- The child will spend Thanksgiving vacation (from Wednesday to Sunday) with the non-custodial parent in odd years.
- The child will spend seven days of Christmas vacation (to include Christmas Day) with the non-custodial parent in even years.
- The non-custodial parent shall be allowed to visit the child for periods of up to five consecutive days throughout the year.
- The non-custodial parent must give the custodial parent at least a 14 day notice prior to visiting the child.
- The non-custodial parent shall be able to visit the child up to five times throughout the year.
- Any additional visitation shall be subject to the approval of the custodial parent.
A schedule like this may seem a bit confusing and hard to keep track of with all the even and odd years. Custody X Change makes it easy to create your visitation schedule. You simply enter your information and select how the cycle will repeat.
For example, if you want to schedule Thanksgiving visitation, you can set the visitation to begin at 6pm on the day before Thanksgiving and to end at 6pm the following Sunday. You can then schedule the custodial parent to have the child for Thanksgiving in even years and the non-custodial parent to have the child in odd years.
You set up each holiday and visitation time in a similar manner. Once you have completed creating your visitation schedule, you will be able to print out your schedule in calendar form. Custody X Change allows you to print out calendars years in advance so you could even print out every year until your child grows up, if you wanted to.
Communication between the child and the non-custodial parent is very important. The distance between the child and the non-custodial parent may prevent them from spending as much time together as they would like to but that doesn't mean they cannot have a close relationship.
Communication between the child and the non-custodial parent may serve as a supplement to the visitation schedule. The custodial parent can facilitate this be allowing and encouraging the child to keep in contact with the other parent.
You can allow your ex to contact your child spontaneously, on an informal schedule, or you can include provisions on your custody arrangements that designate certain times for phone calls or video chatting.
If you decide it would be better if your ex communicated with your child on a set schedule, you can use Custody X Change to create a contact schedule. You can also use Custody X Change to keep a log of all of the visits and contact / communication that occurs.
Your child should be able to have free access to the other parent. He or she should be allowed to contact the other parent whenever he or she wants to as long as it is reasonable and in the child's best interests.
If the other parent would like to speak with the child every day after school or would like to read the child a story before he goes to bed each night, the primary parent can help by working this contact into the child's daily routine.
A simple routine such as “brush your teeth, get your pajamas on, video chat with Daddy, and lights out” will make a world of difference in the life of your child.
When distance is a factor in your custody case, you will need to decide how your child is going to get back and forth between visits.
If driving is a reasonable option, you should decide who will drive the child and whether or not the parents are going to meet at a halfway point to exchange the child.
If driving is out of the question and your child will have to fly, you will need to decide who will accompany the child on the airplane if the child is too young to fly alone.
You will also need to decide who is going to be responsible for paying for the travel expenses. Sometimes people opt to split the travel expenses and sometimes the costs are the responsibility of the parent that moved away.
Regardless of what you decide, you can use Custody X Change to include as many rules and stipulations in your custody agreement as you would like. Custody X Change is a valuable tool for parents in custody situations.