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long-distance parenting plan

What might a long-distance parenting plan look like?

After divorce, life can take you and your ex in very different directions, metaphorically and geographically. You might live here in Ontario, but your ex might relocate to another province or country after your split.

If you are a parent, you should know how to create your parenting plan to reflect this long distance between you.

Scheduling options

Frequent moves between parents can be logistically impossible in long-distance situations. It can take significant time and money to move back and forth, and this can influence the schedule that works best.

Splitting parenting time evenly in a long-distance arrangement is a real challenge and will not likely come about.  Still, one parent may have the majority of parenting time while the other can gain some significant time by adopting a combination of the following: 

  • One weekend a month
  • Week-long visits every two months (depending upon age, distance, and school)
  • All holidays and long weekends
  • Summer and other school breaks

Whether you use these or other schedules, the one that works best for your family will depend on your unique circumstances. Where do you live? How will your child travel? How old is your child?

Travel guidelines

You will need to discuss travel guidelines and expectations when you live far away from the other parent. Consider questions like:

  • Is your child old enough to drive or fly by themselves?
  • How long is the trip?
  • Who will pay for transportation expenses?
  • What are the requirements for bringing your child to another country?

You can also set some guidelines if you or your ex comes to your child instead. Where will you stay? How often will this happen? Confronting questions like this in your plan can prevent arguments and confusion.

Communication rules

Being apart physically can be devastating for both a parent and a child, but today, we have many ways that you can stay in touch. Emails, video chats, and phone calls are just a tap away, which makes it easy and inexpensive for a nonresident parent and child to connect frequently. 

Because of how important this communication can be, you will want to establish the rules for unmonitored communication between the child and the person without regular parenting time. Talk about and include in your Parenting Plan:

  • Scheduling phone and video calls
  • Restricting communication to certain hours
  • Placing a weekly limit on calls or sessions

Long-distance parenting arrangements can be quite complicated. However, when you consider these elements and take the time to create a fair and reasonable plan, you and your children can be more satisfied with the outcome.

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