Parenting Plan for Relocating with Children Post-Divorce

The most obvious aspect of your parenting plan that will need adjustment is the custody and visitation schedule. Chances are that the primary residence will remain the same, but the visitation schedule will not. A parent that may have had time with their child every weekend might now only see their child one weekend a month, but more during summer vacation. You will also need to take the travel time into consideration. Regardless of how your visitation schedule will need to be adjusted, it’s important to get all the details worked out before a move.

It’s no question that separation and divorce can be difficult for children. While it might actually create a better environment for them in certain circumstances, they don’t always understand that at the time.  Add in a geographic move of one of the parents into the mix, regardless of whether the child has to relocate as well, just creates another whole level of complexity.   

Create or Amend Your Parenting Plan to Reflect Your Living Situations  

If you are divorced or divorcing with a child or children, you will need or already have a parenting plan. This plan should contain everything about how both parents will cooperate in regards to raising their children, from how time will be shared to how expenses will be handled. If one parent plans to move a significant distance away after a parenting plan has been created and approved by the family court, it will need amended to reflect any changes.  

Here are some of the major points that need to be considered.   

Transportation is Important  

Most parenting plans have details about pick-up and drop-off times and locations. But, that gets much more complicated when long distances are involved. Long distance travel takes time. Anything involving a considerable amount of time needs to be looked at and potentially amended because it affects the time-share between parents.  Additionally, travel expenses can add up fast. Don’t forget to include in your new amended plan which parent will cover what expenses.  

You also need to put in clear text how the child will travel. Will they travel with a parent, and if so, which parent is responsible for that? Of, if their using public transportation, who will be responsible for making the travel arrangements?  

You can never be too detailed with all of this information.  

More Miles Doesn’t Mean Less Communication  

Your original parenting plan should include provisions about parental communication. That doesn’t change if one parent moves.  

You still need provisions and both parents still need to communicate. And, with all of the communication technology available today, that should not be a problem.  In fact, the distance makes communicating according the parenting plan even more important.  What might need amended though is how the child will communicate with the parent they do not live with. One example is that an amendment about video calls might be considered.  

Adjust Your Schedule   

The most obvious aspect of your parenting plan that will need adjustment is the custody and visitation schedule. Chances are that the primary residence will remain the same, but the visitation schedule will not. A parent that may have had time with their child every weekend might now only see their child one weekend a month, but more during summer vacation. You will also need to take the travel time into consideration.  

Regardless of how your visitation schedule will need to be adjusted, it’s important to get all the details worked out before a move.

In Summary

Any time one parent in a co-parenting environment makes a significant change in their living situation, both parents need to revisit their parenting plan and see if adjustments need to be made. These adjustments will need to continue to reflect what is best for all children involved. They will also need to be approved by the family court, so remember to use legal terminology and only edit what absolutely must be changed.

Tim Backes is the author of this article and senior editor for Custody X Change, a co-parenting custody scheduling software solution.