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 noncustodial parent for extended visits throughout the year.

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

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

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

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.


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.


Specify in your parenting plan what you'll do if either parent moves. How much notice must you give? How will you go about adjusting your visitation schedule? Are the rules when the custodial parent moves different from when the noncustodial parent moves?

Out-of-state parent visiting the child

You should consider allowing the noncustodial 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, the easiest solution is 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.


The child should stay in touch with the distanced parent so that parent won't seem like a stranger when they eventually see each other. Specify how and when the child can communicate with the out-of-state parent (e.g., phone, video call, etc.). 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 than in a traditional custody schedule. 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 stay flexible, meaning the parents plan them together based on the child's and out-of-state parent's availability.

You could use a combination of options. For example, your schedule may have the child visit the parent for an extended weekend every month, but parent might visit for certain weekday holidays like the child's birthday.

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 moving out of state, the most important thing to think about is how the two of you will be able to cooperate from afar. Tools like co-parent messaging help.

If you're the custodial parent, you'll need permission from the court to move because you're moving the child, too. You can simplify things by getting the noncustodial parent to agree to the move. Work with them to come up with a schedule that everyone supports.

In some states, a noncustodial parent moving out of state also needs the court's permission.

Regardless of who's moving, work together to update your schedule and add provisions to your parenting plan (e.g. to specify who will pay for the child's travel).

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.

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

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

Join the 60,000+ other parents who have used our co-parenting tools

Organize your evidence

Track your expenses, journal what happens, and record actual time. Print organized, professional documents.

Co-parent civilly

Our parent-to-parent messaging system, which detects hostile language, lets you collaborate without the drama.

Get an accurate child support order

Child support is based on parenting time or overnights in most jurisdictions. Calculate time instead of estimating.

Succeed by negotiating

Explore options together with visual calendars and detailed parenting plans. Present alternatives and reach agreement.

Never forget an exchange or activity

Get push notifications and email reminders, sync with other calendar apps and share with the other parent.

Save up to $50,000 by avoiding court

Write your parenting agreement without lawyers. Our templates walk you through each step.

Make My Plan



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:

Birth to 18 months

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.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

No thanks, I don't need a parenting plan