Amicable Long Distance Custody: How to Make it Happen

Children must be the priority to parents before, during and after a divorce, no matter how heated relations become. Otherwise, that child is likely to grow up confused, angry or even rebellious. Set a fine example of strength, maturity and wisdom for your child, by hammering out an amicable long distance custody agreement with your ex. Here are some of the most important considerations to include in your plan.

Be Cool, Calm & Collected During Emotional Upheaval of Divorce

As a divorce proceeds, custodial arrangements should be discussed in-dept between the parents. Prior to presenting the court with an official agreement, both parents need to take a number of important things under consideration. Since the final decision of the court is based on the welfare of the children, if both parents find common ground regarding long distance custodial agreements, the process is easier on everyone.

The two of you could begin by distributing the child's possessions between your respective homes. While necessities, such as clothing and a toothbrush are obviously needed at both residents, if the child's favorite toys, games, wall art and other personal items are divided equally, both homes become more comfortable for that child and thus, feel more secure and amicable.

Where the child attends school should guide both parents in terms of visitation; this is best for them and will strongly influence a judge's decision.

Also, consider voluntarily making arrangements for the child to be with each parent on their respective birthdays. While holidays and vacations are often up for dispute, if the parental birthdays are recognized as important days to the kids, a show of good faith has been made in the eyes of the court.

As you divvy up the child's time between your two residences, make a valiant effort to act without vindictiveness or for personal gain against your ex; if you're calm and rationale, not only are you more likely to win judicial approval for the arrangement, your child is likely to be much happier.

Allow Communications Between Your Child & Ex

While in your custody, your child should still have an open line of communications with their other parent. This subject should be discussed and included in the legal arrangements.

  • Internet chats: Both parents need working equipment, online connections and a designated time for the child to log-on and chat.
  • Phone time: Depending on the child's age, both parents need to agree to allow regular communication, perhaps at designated times.
  • The cost of communicating: Chances are good that you shared equipment in a single household prior to separating, meaning one home will now require new equipment and installation. Decide how this will be paid for and by whom.
  • Snail-mail: When the child is with one parent for an extended period, letter writing should be considered. Other paperwork from the child: Especially if your child is learning to write and bringing masterpieces home from school, it's important to share these milestone creations with the other parent.

Travel Between Parental Residences

Getting to and from each home is also an important consideration for both parents. The court will need to know that these arrangements have been thoughtfully planned.

  • Payment: Particularly if airplane tickets and other significant expenses are foreseen, both parents need to come to an agreement and put it in writing.
  • Accompanying the child: If your child is too young to travel alone, each parent must avail themselves as an escort to the other's residence.
  • Changing plans: You might, for example, decide a bus or train is more economically viable at some point. Therefore, room for negotiations and change should be added to formal agreements.

The Visitation Schedule

It's difficult to divide precious time with a growing child between two people in distant places, however, the court will require a specific itinerary. Both parents should begin with rough drafts of preferred visitation schedules and from that point, discuss the matter until an exact agreement is reached.

  • Holidays: The most amicable agreement involves alternating holiday custody or the whole family getting together, despite distance and differences.
  • School vacations: Think about the child's friends and community involvement, as well as parental work obligations.
  • The child's birthday: What child wouldn't want to celebrate? Consider a birthday celebration at each parent's home.
  • Divided custody for the remaining days of the year: Coordinate the time spans and live by rules that foster a healthy family, even though broken.

Holding onto grudges or turning custody into a personal battle will only harm your child. It's absolutely necessary that you and your ex find a way to be amicable and lead your child into the future together. For more insight or assistance, visit resources like to connect with a custody attorney.