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Long-distance parenting plans must be comprehensive

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Some careers, such as those in the military, pull parents away from their children. When the parents have gone through a divorce, one parent might remain in the area where the kids grew up while the other has to move on deployment. Dealing with child custody matters in these cases can be challenging.

When long-distance parenting is a concern, your parenting plan should have clear terms about what is going to happen. This ensures that both parents are on the same page and that the children have what they need to thrive.

Plan for frequent communication

You need to plan to communicate with your children even when you can't be there in person. While parents used to rely solely on phone calls, technology now offers many other options for these situations. Video chats, texts and other messaging services make it easy to communicate often. Services like YouTube make it possible for you to see your child's school play or other events. You can tailor the way that you interact with your child to their age and needs. Maybe you can read a story to a toddler using video chat or you can help an older child with homework.

The communication should always be free and uncensored. Even though it is virtual communication, it should be treated like face-to-face conversations that would happen when the child is with that parent. Children should always be able to discuss anything with a parent without worrying about the other parent interfering.

Set the schedule for visits

In-person visits aren't going to happen as often as they would if everyone lived near each other. You should still have a schedule for the kids to spend time with you. This might mean that you take short visits to where they live and they take longer visits to come to you. Because travel can be costly, it should be decided how the expenses will be covered for the children to go back and forth. This should be put in writing.

Focus on co-parenting

When one parent is with the children more, it is likely that they will be closer to the kids. Still, both parents should have a say in the major decisions that impact the children. Working as a team helps to ensure that the parent who isn't living with the kids still has an important part in their life.

Your parenting plan is the key to making sure that your kids can have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Taking the time to review the situation can help to make things easier. Be sure to include information about communication between the adults so that things about the child's life can be passed back and forth freely.

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