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Parenting Plan Considerations When One Parent Lives Far Away

On behalf of Gregory W. Stevens, Attorney at Law on Monday, December 10, 2018.

Your job is taking you out of Utah, but this will necessitate a new parenting plan and custody orders. The last thing you want is to disrupt your relationship with your child.

What can you include in the modified plan to give you ample opportunities to keep your parent-child bond strong?

School Breaks

When considering school breaks, you probably think about two weeks during the winter holidays, a week for spring and fall break, and six weeks in the summer. However, think beyond these common visitation times. Are there any times on the school calendar when your child may get both a Friday and a Monday off due to a combination of teacher grading days and three-day weekend holidays? These often happen two or three times per year. If you study the calendar carefully, you may discover unofficial breaks that allow you enough time to spend a long weekend with your child.

Virtual Visits

Thanks to technology, it is easy to talk to your child face-to-face. However, video chat can be disruptive of other activities. Include in your parenting plan a set time to have a video chat with your child. Just as with an in-person visit, this block of time is yours, and the other parent cannot interrupt. You may also include frequent times for phone calls. Remember, though, that if you call often outside the times you designate, the other parent may feel you are encroaching on his or her parenting time. Texts and direct messages are another way to keep in regular contact with your child.

Travel Time and Expense

Even though you are the one moving, the other parent may still share at least some of the travel burden with you. This could mean driving halfway to a drop-off location or paying a portion of a round-trip airline ticket. Do not rely on a verbal agreement when it comes to these terms; include them in the new custody orders.