How realistic is long-distance co-parenting?

Posted on Jan 26, 2017 by Christopher Pitts

If you live in a different state from your child, it is natural to wonder how realistic or feasible long-distance co-parenting is. For example, can you really have a say in many matters when you only see your children during holidays and summers?

The short answer is that if both parents are committed to making long distance work, it can certainly be successful. When there is a will, there is a way.

Creating co-parenting plans

One of the most important things is for both parents to be on the same page as to why or how this living arrangement benefits the child. For instance, a mother who lives in Seattle while her children live in Los Angeles may recognize that she is able to follow her professional goals without uprooting her children, and in fact, is better able to financially support them.

Likewise, it is good to be on the same page as far as ways to minimize any negative effects on the children. Having a parenting plan can help with this. Such plans may cover areas such as:

  • Child support
  • Frequency of contact
  • Method of contact (video chat on iPhone, physical visits on which holidays and for how long, etc.)
  • Decision-making

For example, a father who lives in a different state from his children may still want to be involved in decisions such as which schools the children attend. The more comprehensive a parenting plan is, the better.

Dealing with frustrations

It is normal to sometimes feel resentful of the children’s other parent. If a new partner is in the picture, the potential for conflict increases even more. This new man or woman may get more day-to-day time with your children than you do.

Situations like this are why it really is critical for you to be on board with the distance living arrangement. If you completely and totally hate it, your children are bound to pick up on that somehow. Things that can help are:

  • Counseling
  • Creating quality time in the moments you do have with your children
  • Checking in regularly with the other parent to ensure you are always in the lo op
  • Striving for a work-life balance
  • Changing up the plan

You may have made the wrong decision living so far from your children or allowing the other parent to move with them. If this is the case, you can try to resolve matters.

The prospect of long-distance parenting can be scary, even overwhelming. A lawyer can help draw up plans and agreements to reduce any uncertainty.