A Father's Word About Out-of-State Custody

In this interview, a father whose children live out of state shares his feelings about out-of-state custody and 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.

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Mike's story

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 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.

Keeping track of your long distance arrangement

Living in a state apart from your child is difficult. A parenting plan helps you stay organized so you know how and when you'll spend time with your child — in person and remotely.

The Custody X Change app walks you through each step of creating a comprehensive parenting plan so you can account for every aspect of your long distance arrangement.

The result is a professional document with airtight legal language that demonstrates your competence as a parent and secures your child's future.

The easiest and most reliable way to make a parenting plan is with Custody X Change.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

Explore examples of common schedules



Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

Parenting plans:

Making a parenting plan

Changing your plan

Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

Parenting plans

Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

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18 months to 3 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 13 years

13 to 18 years


Joint physical custody

Sole physical custody

Joint legal custody

Sole legal custody

Product features:

Software overview

Printable calendars

Parenting plan templates

Journal what happens

Expense sharing

Parenting time tracking

Calculate time & overnights

Ways to use:

Succeed by negotiating

Prepare for mediation

Get ready for court


Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

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