What Does a Long Distance Parenting Plan Need to Include?

A mother and her two small children sit on a bench in the woods. They are facing away from the camera.

After the dissolution of a marriage or the ending of a significant relationship, involving minor children, parenting plans become a crucial part of the ongoing relationship. One parent may relocate to a different state to restart life or may relocate due to a job opportunity. With the significant distance between parents, there are details of a long distance parenting plan that may need to be addressed in more detail compared to a standard parenting plan. It is important to discuss the geographic locations of parents when determining a parenting plan with your Florida Child Custody Attorney. We are familiar with parenting plans, and will be sure to address the necessary points unique to each long distance parenting plan.

One of the key points of a long distance parenting plan is the need to keep in regular communication with the secondary parent. Therefore, it will be important to designate if this communication will be daily, weekly etc. Further, you will need to designate specific days, and times for communication to take place. The type of communication will be important to note as well, as to properly prepare. For instance, if a parent wishes face to face communication the child may need to be near a computer or have significant internet access to achieve this communication. Finally, it may be helpful to note a specific contact number to reach the child at if they do not have access to their own phone. By clearly determining these simple communication methods prior to implementation, the expectations, and boundaries are set, leaving little room for confusion. This schedule also allows the child a consistent time to bond with the parent and gives them a time to look forward to each day or week.

Visitation or timesharing with the child is also crucial to this type of parenting plan. Because of the long distance, a weekly exchange or every other weekend timesharing is unlikely. Therefore, some parents opt for a once a monthly weekend timesharing schedule. This monthly weekend could include the parent traveling to the child or vise versa. This would depend on the parent’s comfort level of the child traveling at that time. However, the distance may be too great to maintain such a monthly schedule and parents rather exchange on holidays or summer vacations. This option would allow the secondary parent to maintain a majority of the summer vacation days with the child as well as the majority of holidays in order to make up for the time missed during the school year. However, this also may become difficult as holidays are important to families and parents are unwilling to give up time with their children during these family holidays. In these scenarios, it is incredibly difficult to formulate a plan at each parent and child will be happy with. However, discuss your needs and ultimate desires regarding the time spent with your children, with your Florida Child Custody Attorney. They will be able to negotiate and collaborate to formulate a plan that fits your family’s needs.

Finally, the transportation of the child will need to be discussed in detail in a long distance parenting plan. In a common parenting plan, simply designating a location and time for exchange is enough. However, when parents are crossing state lines, or the travel for a child may be hours long it is important to discuss the mode of transportation as well as the cost. If you and your partner agree to transport the child by car, it will be important to note who will be responsible for transporting the child as well as the cost of the transportation. However, some parents may agree to meet halfway between the two locations making costs equal between the parties. Further, the distance may also be traveled by airplane. If this is the mode of transportation chosen, you and your partner will have to designate if a parent will travel with the parent, at what age the child may travel alone, who bears the cost of the plane tickets, as well as the airports the child will fly in and out of. All of these details are necessary and will save you a great deal of confusion later when these questions arise.

Whether you are entering into an initial child custody determination and parenting plan or in the midst of modifying an existing one to include the relocation of a parent. Employ the skills of a knowledgeable Florida Child Custody Attorney to draft your long distancing parenting plan to ensure the key details are covered.

Speaking to an attorney at our Florida office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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