Long Distance Custody and Visitation Schedules
When parents live far from each other, the child lives with one and visits the other. The frequency of the visits depends on the child's age and needs, as well as what works for the parents.
Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.
Here are some examples of long distance visitation schedules:
A visit every weekend, if parents have money for flights or can arrange the driving.
A visit every other weekend or for 2 or 3 scheduled weekends a month.
A visit 1 weekend a month.
Other schedules that may work for long distances are:
- A weekend visit every other month
- A 5-7 day visit every 2 or 3 months for younger children not in school
- Long weekend visits whenever the child has a day off from school
You can set up times when the nonresidential parent can come and visit the child. You can schedule these visits as often as you want.
You can also have scheduled phone calls and video calls on your calendar. In addition, your child should be able to call the nonresidential parent whenever they wish.
To make long distance visitation work, you need to create a long distance parenting plan that explains how the parents will pay for the child's travel, who is in charge of making travel arrangements, how it works when the parent comes to visit the child, etc.
Long distance holiday schedules
Holidays and school breaks should be shared or given to the nonresidential parent, since the nonresidential parent has significantly less time with the child.
Holidays commonly included in a long distance schedule are:
- 3 day weekend holidays: All or some of these holidays can go to the nonresidential parent, depending on flight expenses and driving time.
- Spring and fall breaks: If your child is in school, the nonresidential parent should have some or all of spring and fall breaks.
- Thanksgiving: You can alternate who gets Thanksgiving every year or split the holiday between the parents.
- Christmas and winter break: You can split the winter season holidays and alternate them every year or have the same split every year.
You can schedule phone or video calls on holidays and arrange for the nonresidential parent to visit the child on some holidays.
Summer break and vacations
If your child is in school, you can have a summer break schedule to give the nonresidential parent more time with the child. Usually the nonresidential parent is given 6 to 8 weeks of the summer break. You can give more or less than this depending on what works for your situation.
You can also schedule time for each parent to take the child on vacation. Most arrangements say that the parents can take the child on vacation for 2–4 weeks a year, as long as they give notice to the other parent.
The easiest way to make a long distance schedule
There's a lot to think about when you build a parenting time schedule. You'll want it to address holidays and school breaks, give the right amount of time to each parent, and work for years to come.
The Custody X Change app makes it easy. Just follow the steps to make a common custody schedule.
On Step 2, select one of the following options:
- "Long distance," to give one parent all the time. After you save, you can add visits with the other parent via holiday schedules, repeating visits or one-time changes.
- "Every weekend," if you live close enough together to give one parent a visit every weekend.
- "Alternating weekends," to give the parent a visit every other weekend.
- "Monthly," to give a parent the same weekends each month (e.g., the second and fourth weekends).
Or select "other" to make a schedule with another pattern that works for your long-distance situation.
To make a custody schedule quickly and affordably, turn to Custody X Change. You'll get a written schedule and a visual calendar that meet your family's needs, as well as court standards.