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.

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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.

Moving

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.

Communication

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.

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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