Long-Distance Parenting Requires A Communication Plan
It’s not always possible for two divorced parents to live near each other. Work, poor health, or other family relationships could leave two parents forced to engage in long-distance parenting. Fortunately, it’s easier now than it has ever been to stay connected to and in regular communication with a child, even when a parent can’t be physically with them. Phone calls, video calls, text messages, emails, and even social media posts can help a child feel connected to a parent who lives or works far away. Even if a child is old enough to have his or her own electronics, however, it will be necessary for co-parents to facilitate communication with their child.
Long-Distance Parenting Plans
Couples who share custody of a child must come up with a parenting plan that details a time-sharing arrangement and division of parental decision making responsibility. Long-distance parenting plans, however, may need to include more, like information about how a child will stay in contact with both parents when in the other’s custody. This is important even if two co-parents get along and wouldn’t stand in each other’s way when it comes to regular communication with their child. Having a specific plan in place can give both parents clear expectations on how their child will stay in touch with them and can also prevent conflict down the road.
Including Communication in Your Long-Distance Parenting Plan
By making communication a part of a parenting plan, co-parents (via court approval) can make those terms legally enforceable. Common communication-related terms that many co-parents choose to include in their parenting plans include:
- How often a co-parent will contact the child;
- What times (using both parents’ time zones) that the parents will communicate with the child;
- How the parties will communicate (i.e. FaceTime, phone calls, text messages etc); and
- When make-up calls will be scheduled if the parent or child has to miss one.
Long-distance parenting plans can also include restrictions on communication, limiting parents to a specific schedule that’s convenient for all parties. In this way, parents can ensure that there is a designated time that they can speak with their children when that child can also focus on the conversation. This can make conversations much more meaningful, leading to a deeper connection between parents and their children. Furthermore, by including details about communication in a parenting plan, co-parents will have legal recourse if their child’s other parent starts interfering with that communication.
Call Today for Legal Help
If you and your co-parent are unable to live near each other, you may need help drafting a cohesive and detailed long-distance parenting plan. For assistance, call 954-945-7591 and set up a meeting with experienced Florida child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. We can help answer your questions about the kinds of things you can include in your parenting plan and how to go about enforcing those terms down the road.