Determining child custody in the wake of a divorce can be a challenge. Spreading it across state lines adds another element to a difficult situation.
Before moving out of state, a parent should take a hard and honest look at the child custody situation. If the moving parent does not have custody of the children, they should discuss the move and the child custody with parent awarded custody. Determining a schedule for visitation will be much easier if both parents can compromise and find a solution that benefits them and – most importantly – the children.
The parent who wants to move must explain the reasons behind the move to the other parent, while making it clear their desire to continue a relationship with the child. Sometimes, the parent may need to get permission from the court before they move. This court permission ensures that parent will still have visitation rights.
If a custodial parent wants to move, they must get permission from the court and from the other parent. This complicates matters because the custodial parent is most likely taking the child away from the non-custodial parent. Once again, the mother and father must discuss the necessity of the move and how it would benefit the children. The parent who is moving should ensure the other parent that they will still have visitation, and they should work together to make that happen. The best interests of the child should be the main – and only concern.
When a custodial parent moves out of state, the usual arrangement is for child custody is for the child to visit their non-custodial parent less frequently, but for longer stretches of time. For instance, the child could live with the non-custodial parent over the summer, or spend the school year with them. This could be especially important for the child if the non-custodial parent lives where the child has gone to school for many years, and they have lots of friends in the neighborhood. Again, the best interests of the child are paramount.
Parents who live out of state can also visit the child in the child’s home state, especially when the parent’s traveling schedule is more flexible than the child’s. The parents then have to work out lodging arrangements for the visiting parent, where they will stay, when they will visit, what activities they will do and so on. Another option is to have the custodial parent and the child visit the state of the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent can have a vacation or break while the child visits with the other parent, and allow quality time with the non-custodial parent.
Another element of out-of-state custody planning are expenses. The parents have to work out a plan to determine how and if travel expenses would be shared. It is crucial to work this out beforehand to avoid any friction that can ruin the child’s experience. Again, in the best interest of the child.
The technology-driven world we live in can help bridge the interstate gap. Text messages, video chats, email and phone calls can keep the parent in touch with the child. Even though the non-custodial parent is in a different state, they can remain virtually in touch with their child. And isn’t that the most important thing?
When crafting an out-of-state custody arrangement, where the child is concerned, there are three main considerations: best interests, best interests and best interests.
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