What to Include in Your Long Distance Parenting Plan
When it comes to child custody, Florida courts are generally in favor of creating a schedule that allows a child to continue building a strong relationship with both parents. This is often a relatively simple task in cases where two parents have an amicable relationship and live near each other. It can, however, become much more complicated to create a parenting plan that best serves the needs of a child when one of the parents moves away. In these situations, the parties involved will need to create a long distance parenting plan that establishes a visitation schedule and addresses issues like communication and travel.
Creating an in-depth parenting plan is always complex, but cases involving long distance parenting tend to be even more complicated, so if you or your child’s other parent are relocating, you should consider speaking with an experienced child visitation and time-sharing lawyer for help.
Factors that Could Affect Your Long Distance Parenting Plan
There are a number of different unique factors that parents must consider when creating a long distance parenting plan, including:
- The age and maturity of the child in question;
- The distance between the co-parents’ residences and the ease of traveling between them;
- Economic considerations, including the financial situations of both parents; and
- Whether a child has special developmental or health issues.
The types of plans that a couple comes up with will vary significantly depending on these factors. If, for example, co-parents live a car ride away from each other, monthly or semi-monthly parenting time could be feasible. Trips that would require hours-long plane rides with layovers, on the other hand, would probably not be conducive to such frequent visits. The age of the children in question, including whether they are old enough to travel on their own will also have an impact on the type of schedule that a family comes up with.
Be Sure to Address These Issues
Long distance parents should also be certain to address issues that are specific to long distance time-sharing plans, including:
- How to handle communication, such as what means the parties will use (i.e. video chats, email, phone calls), how often the child and long distance parent will communicate, how often and by what means the parents will communicate, and how any temporary adjustments to the phone call/video chat schedule will be handled;
- How frequently visitation will be scheduled, how often visits will last, how far in advance visits should be planned, and how the parents will share holidays and vacations; and
- Whether the child will be required to travel by plane alone or must be accompanied, how the cost of airfare and transportation costs will be divided, how any long distance driving duties will be shared, and whether reimbursement for gas money and travel-related expenses should be included in the parenting plan.
To learn more about the types of details that should be included in your own long distance parenting plan, please call our office today.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help
Long distance parenting is complicated, so if you and your child’s other parent need help coming up with an appropriate long distance parenting plan, please call 954-945-7591 to speak with dedicated Fort Lauderdale child visitation & timesharing attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for assistance.