Making a Long Distance Parenting Plan Work

How do I make a long distance parenting plan?

You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with a lawyer or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of a lawyer, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.

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What is a long distance parenting plan?

A long distance parenting plan is the legal document that outlines how you and the other parent will raise your children after your divorce despite living some distance away from each other. The parenting plan helps keep you both on the same page about providing your children with quality care and a stable environment.

Countless numbers of divorced parents find it a challenge to co-parent when they are living in the same area, but when one parent lives a long distance away from the other, the challenges only increase. When one parent lives too far away to see the children frequently, they become a long distance parent.

There are many reasons why one parent may need to live far away from the children:

  • New employment
  • Job transfer
  • Job promotion
  • Educational pursuits
  • Remarriage
  • Change of employment for the parent's spouse
  • Caretaking for grandparents

Custody X Change software is an easy-to-use program that gives you templates for all kinds of parenting plans. Whether you create a parenting plan yourself or with the other parent, Custody X Change is a valuable tool to ensure you've covered every detail.

What are the goals of a long distance parenting plan?

A long distance parenting pan can help you and the other parent achieve your goals of giving your children access to two caring parents, even though one lives far away. Distance parenting requires the cooperation of both the local parent and the distant parent to positively influence the children.

The parenting plan outlines custody decisions and enables you and the other parent to put your parenting views in writing. It also contains a schedule for visitations with the noncustodial parent that are appropriate for the age and maturity of your children.

The goals of your long distance parenting plan should include:

  • Healthy communication with your children
  • Regular, consistent communication from the distant parent
  • Respectful communication between the local parent and the distant parent
  • Reasonable visitation at the distant parent's home
  • Age-appropriate frequency and duration of visitations for the children
  • A calendar that outlines visitation, including holidays and vacations
  • Commitments to providing current contact information between parents

Many parents turn to custody software, such as Custody X Change, to help them create a parenting plan that fits their long distance situation. Custody X Change offers parenting plan templates that you can adjust to fit your own family.

What does a long distance parenting plan provide for the local parent?

The local parent, or the custodial parent, needs a detailed long distance parenting plan because it spells out exactly what responsibilities each parent has in raising the children. If you are the local parent, you likely have the bulk of the decision-making power on behalf of your children. This usually means you have sole physical custody.

The long distance parenting plan should clarify the responsibilities of you, the local parent, such as:

  • Supporting the children's relationship with the distant parent
  • Enable children to visit the distant parent according to the agreed-upon schedule
  • Communicate important information to the distant parent about the children's welfare
  • Provide current contact information to the distant parent
  • Supply information about the children's schools, teachers, friends and activities with the distant parent

Because you will spend the majority of time with your children, you also have a lot of influence on preparing your children for visitation, coordinating transfers and encouraging communication. When you recognize that your children benefit from visits, it makes it easier to let them go to the other parent.

Custody X Change software parenting plan templates provide you with guidelines on how to write out a plan and schedule that covers the local parent's responsibilities.

What does a long distance parenting plan provide for the distant parent?

The long distance parenting plan protects the distant parent's rights to see the children and maintain a presence in their lives. If you are the distant parent, you face the challenge of staying involved in your children's lives without having the advantage of proximity.

You, as the distant parent, need a long distance parenting plan that:

  • Ensures you are allowed contact with your children by phone, email or other method on a daily basis
  • Outlines when visitations will occur
  • Provides details on the transfer of children between homes
  • Agrees on which parent pays for the transportation of the children
  • Allows children to frequently contact the custodial parent while in your care

As the distant parent, you may feel resentment that your time with your children is significantly less than the other parent. Rather than focus on the negative parts of a long distance relationship with the children, concentrate on creating a safe, stable and fun environment to get to know your children better and develop lasting bonds with them.

In order to create a workable visitation schedule, use Custody X Change software to make a color coded calendar that outlines when the children will reside with you and what vacation and holiday times you can look forward to with them.

How do children's ages factor into a long distance parenting plan?

Experts agree that visitations with a distant parent should be structured according to the age and maturity of the children involved, so create a long distance parenting plan to meet their needs. Because long separations can be particularly hard on young children, distance visitations can become difficult to negotiate.

Young children. Infants up to 3 or 4 years old should not be away from their primary caregiver for very long, and usually never overnight. Distant parents should make plans to visit the children at their homes and other familiar places. Only in rare situations should young children visit an unfamiliar place without the custodial parent present.

Middle children. Children who are 5 to 10 years old can handle time away from the primary caregiver and usually look forward to overnight or multi-day stays with the distant parent. Their concept of time is improving and their ability to go between homes without stress is increasing.

Older children. Those children from 11 to 17 understand about travelling between homes, and are extremely flexible with lengthy visits and travel. However, children at this age are often busy with activities, school and friends, so they may not be able to easily pick up and leave their primary residence for long.

While the distant parent may desire to spend as much time as possible in visitations with the children, long and frequent visits may not be in the children's best interest. Too much change can cause anxiety in children, so parents must adjust visitations to match what they can handle.

When can we revise the long distance parenting plan?

You and the other parent can revise the long distance parenting plan whenever you both agree that the current version is no longer working out. There are a number of reasons why your family may outgrow your parenting plan.

As children grow and mature, the parenting methods you both originally agreed to may become ineffective. Everything from discipline and communication methods to visitations may need to be updated.

Custody X Change software allows you to make changes to your parenting plan document, preserving what is still working and revising what needs adjusted. You can print out the parenting plan for easy reference and upload a revised visitation calendar to your mobile devices.

Ultimately, your long distance parenting plan is a tool for you and the other parent to continue to be supporting and loving parents to your children, even though you live apart and are no longer together.

Children thrive when they have two parents in their lives offering support and guidance. To accomplish this goal, create a detailed long distance parenting plan that meets their developmental needs.

The easiest way to make a parenting plan

Creating a parenting plan on your own can feel overwhelming. You have to be sure to use airtight legal language and can't omit any required information.

Use technology to take the guesswork out of the equation. The Custody X Change app walks you through each step of creating a comprehensive parenting plan.

The result is a professional document 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.

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Long distance schedules

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Factors to consider

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