Helpful Tips for Long Distance Co-Parenting
Parenting alone is difficult enough. Attempting to co-parent with your ex-spouse, especially when they live far away, is an immense challenge. You can accomplish it, however. Parents who are committed to their children’s welfare find ways to effectively co-parent no matter the distance between them.
For parents who are newly divorced and facing this challenge, it can be helpful to learn from the experiences of others who have tackled this issue before. Successfully co-parenting when distance is involved boils down to three simple steps:
- Set realistic expectations for yourself and your ex-spouse
- Be open and available for communication with your ex-spouse
- Exercise patience
Each of these three principles will be explored in more detail below.
Have Realistic Expectations for Custody and Visitation
When there is a great distance between you and your child or the other parent, you must learn to temper your expectations. If your child does not reside with you, you will likely not be able to see them as often as you would like. Significant and frequent travel can be disruptive and exhausting for a child.
If you are the parent your child lives with, you may need to accept that in lieu of frequent face-to-face visits, your child will need more time to talk on the phone with the other parent.
Tempering your expectations and realizing upfront that co-parenting from a distance will involve sacrifices from both parents can help you be better prepared to compromise when challenges arise.
Strive for Open Communication
Next, you and the other parent should have clear and open lines of communication. The other parent should know when and how to contact you in an emergency. The other parent should not have to go through an intermediary, such as your parents or your current spouse, to reach you in order to talk about your child.
You should also keep the other parent updated about your child’s welfare. Your co-parent should be informed promptly if there is an illness or if disciplinary issues arise at school. Let them know if you will be late for a custody exchange. Frequent, respectful communication helps both parents feel as though they are a team.
Be Patient and Understanding with One Another
Unless otherwise warranted, you should not assume that every slight, inconvenience or need for change is a threat to your status as a co-parent. Co-parenting effectively requires both parents to support each other’s parenting efforts. When distance is involved, the best way for this to happen is with mutual support and understanding.
Get Answers to Your Michigan Child Custody Questions
Using the services of a skilled attorney during your divorce or child custody proceedings can help you anticipate potential co-parenting problems.
Gucciardo Family Law is committed to setting your family up for success following a divorce or separation. We will help you draft and implement a workable parenting plan that serves your child’s best interests. Contact our office today so we can meet with you to discuss your situation.
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