Co-parenting when you live in another state

Coordinating schedules, activities and trips can be a headache even when parents live in the same state. However, co-parenting can take on another level of difficulty when your ex and child move out of state. Driving back and forth would be impractical, and travel expenses can be costly. So, how can you stay involved in your child’s life from far away?

Long-distance schedule options

It’s almost inevitable that your child will spend the bulk of their time with your co-parent. Relocation may mean that your child only sees you during breaks or weekends. The following are some options for out-of-state parenting that you might want to consider:

  • Flexible visits: You and your co-parent coordinate visits to accommodate everyone’s availability.
  • Monthly visits: If your child attends school, they can spend one long weekend with you every month. If your child is not yet in school, they have more time and may be able to stay with you for up to a week every month.
  • Summer break visits: Your child lives with your co-parent during the school year and stays with you during summer break

You and your co-parent can talk about utilizing one or a combination of these options. It’ll be a good idea to also talk openly about how you can visit your child on special occasions, such as their birthday, recital, game or graduation.

Don’t let distance stop you

Given that your child will not be with you the majority of the time, the distance can make you feel left out. This is the time to take advantage of technology.

Because of video calls, many people in long-distance relationships can spend years apart from their loved ones without feeling lonely. You, too, can video call with your child to strengthen your relationship. As opposed to phone calls or texts, video apps like Skype or FaceTime allow you to see each other and show exactly what you’re doing.

These days, you can even find apps that let you watch movies or play games together online. And if your child needs help with homework, you can tutor them virtually. Consider experimenting with these options to mix things up.

Don’t let distance and time become barriers to your relationship. Despite the increased difficulty, your child will value any time they can spend with you.

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