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Successfully navigating long-distance visitation

It has been a while since the finalization of your divorce, and you and your ex-spouse are now on amicable if not always the friendliest terms. You have also worked out child custody plans that you both can live with, and the children seem to be adjusting well. However, your ex recently moved to a different city, which has thrown a wrench into the workings of your new family dynamic. One parent living in another city or state is not an original concept, but it can be challenging for single parents in Florida. How can you and your ex continue to effectively parent your kids when you live so far away from each other?

If you do not always get along with your ex, putting as much distance as possible between the two of you can seem like a wonderful thing. However, this can be upsetting for children, who need love and attention from both parents. Even if you both are on good terms, it can be frustrating to work out a visitation schedule when there is distance involved. The following tips might help you develop a new plan that could make the most of the time your children spend with their long-distance parent:

  • Work out an extended time that your children can spend with the out-of-town parent, such as during school breaks and summer vacation.
  • Encourage visits every month if possible, even if they are only for a day or a weekend.
  • If you are within a few hours’ driving distance, consider meeting halfway or alternating meetings between both of your hometowns.
  • Make sure you are both on the same page regarding modes of travel for your children, pickup times and locations, whether an adult should accompany them on flights, and travel expenses.
  • Split time between major holidays. If your children spend Thanksgiving with you one year, they could spend Christmas with their other parent.
  • During times when the children are unable to see the out-of-town parent, encourage such communication modes as Skype and Facetime.

Parenting with a long distance between you and your ex might be challenging at times, but your children will benefit when you both put in the effort to remain in regular contact and cooperate with each other.

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Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A.
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Orlando, FL 32803

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