Long Distance Parenting

Misty D. Becker

September 29, 2017

Long-Distance Parenting

After a divorce, parenting can become challenging, especially after one parent finds it necessary to move. Whether it is across the state or across the country, this transition can be hard on the parent-child relationship and shouldn’t be entered into lightly.

Because parenting time is now shared, it is imperative that the parties have open lines of communication.  When parents can communicate, the move merely involves developing a new parenting schedule.  When communication lines are not open, relocation and parenting can become difficult.  While Tennessee law is much more open now to the prospect of one parent moving, that only emphasizes the importance of working through these difficulties and not simply trying to avoid them.

Once the move becomes apparent, it is important to set up a parenting schedule that is practical and not cost prohibitive.  Be sure to include times for FaceTime or Skyping so that the child knows that you are not just the voice of his or her parent.  This is particularly important for younger children.  This also allows your child to visually connect to the remote parent as well.  While this is very simple to state, it is also possible that conflicts will arise.

If conflicts do arise, an attorney can help you transition from local parenting to cross-state or cross-country parenting.  Attorneys can help guide parents through the relocation process, beginning with how to advise the other parent of a relocation to establishing a new parenting schedule.  There may also be times that litigation is necessary for obtain the right to move with the child or to keep the child from moving with the other parent.  An experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights in either situation.

Remember, communication with both the other parent and the child will be key before, during and after the move. In this digital age, communication has never been easier and there should be no real excuse to not be able to establish a solid communication schedule.

Should you have any concerns, be sure to consult legal counsel with expertise in working through this transition.  An attorney can help plan the transition and navigate the waters of long distance relationships.