Out-of-State Custody & Visitation: 6 Schedule Ideas

Parents who live in different states require a long distance visitation schedule. Long distance schedules differ from other schedules in that they usually place the child with one parent for most of the time and with the distanced parent for extended visits throughout the year.

A schedule is one part of your interstate parenting plan, which should also include provisions for travel and other special accommodations.

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What to consider when making your schedule

There's a lot to think about when creating a long distance schedule. In addition to the regular things to consider when you making a schedule, you should also factor in the following.

Travel

Consider what mode of transportation the child will use to go between homes (e.g., airplane, train, etc.) and whether parents will split the costs.

Out-of-state parent visiting the child

You should consider allowing the distanced parent to visit so the child doesn't have to travel as frequently. Figure out when this is feasible and where the parent will stay.

Holidays and vacations

In some cases, it's easiest to align the child's visits with holidays and school breaks to avoid disrupting their schedule. Decide how you'll divvy up these occasions. For example, the distanced parent may have the child over summer break in even-numbered years.

Communication

It's essential that the child stays in touch with the distanced parent. Specify how they can communicate with the other parent (e.g., phone, video call, etc.), how often and whether the child should have their own phone. Consider setting aside time in the schedule for calls.

Out-of-state schedule ideas

When parents live in different states, the child lives with one parent and visits the other. Visits are usually less frequent but longer. There are several long distance schedule options, including:

  • The child lives with one parent during the school year and stays with the other parent during summer break.
  • Once a month, the child visits the out-of-state parent for an extended weekend (Friday afternoon to Sunday night).
  • When the child is not in school, they visit the out-of-state parent for five to seven days every month or every other month.
  • Visits are unspecified, meaning they occur whenever the out-of-state parent and child are available.

You could use a combination of options. For example, your schedule may have the child visiting the parent for an extended weekend every month, but if the child's birthday falls on a weekday, you can allow the out-of-state parent to visit.

The child's age will factor into how often visits occur. Young children who aren't in school have more availability for visits. School-aged children have school and extracurriculars to factor in. Teenagers may have work schedules to take into account. Be sure to adjust your schedule accordingly.

The focus as you make a schedule should be the best interest of your child. Prioritize what will help them maintain a positive, close relationship with both parents.

Things to consider before moving out of state

If either parent is considering a move out of state, the most important thing to think about is how well the two of you can negotiate. Cooperation is key to making an out-of-state schedule work. If you don't get along with the other parent, think about ways you can communicate, like through a third party.

If you're the custodial parent, you'll need permission from the court to move because you're moving the child, too. It'll be easier to get permission if the other parent agrees to the move. Work with them to come up with a schedule that everyone supports. You'll also need to add provisions to your parenting plan to specify how you'll pay for travel, among other details.

Some states also require non-custodial parents to get the court's permission before moving.

The easiest way to make a long distance visitation schedule

Living far from your child adds another layer to the process of creating a visitation schedule.

The Custody X Change app takes the guesswork out of the equation by helping you build a schedule piece by piece.

As a result, you get a written schedule and a visual calendar. They meet your family's needs, as well as the court's standards.

For quick, reliable and affordable help making a visitation schedule, turn to Custody X Change.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Plan
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Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

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