Carefully Safeguarding Your Rights and Interests

Why long-distance parents need a communications plan

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2023 | Child Custody

These days, many people’s careers can require them to move across the country or the other side of the world – or travel for long stretches of time. If you have to be far away from your child and your co-parent, your primary concern is likely how you’ll be able to remain involved and connected with your child.

Fortunately, you have numerous options that allow you to see and talk with your child every day, text with them any time if they have a phone and keep up with them if they’re on social media. If your child is younger and doesn’t have their own electronics, you’ll need to rely on your co-parent to facilitate this communication.

Even if you and your co-parent get along and they’d never stand in the way of you and your child communicating (but especially if that’s not the case), you should codify a long-distance communication plan before you leave. This can give you, your co-parent and your child clear expectations of when and how you and your child will stay in touch. This can prevent conflict with your ex and give your child reassurance that you’ll still be there for them, even if you’re thousands of miles away.

What kinds of details should you include?

By making this part of your parenting plan, a judge can sign off on it, which means it’s enforceable through the court if that becomes necessary. You can make it as detailed or broad as you choose. However, it’s typically wise to include things like the following:

  • How often and at what times (using your child’s and co-parent’s time zone), you’ll contact your child
  • How the communication will take place (FaceTime, phone call, etc.)
  • How soon a make-up call needs to be scheduled if you or your child has to miss one

As the long-distance parent, you may need to agree to things like:

  • Not calling or texting your child any time as often as you want
  • Adhering to a schedule that’s convenient for your child and co-parent – even if it means you’re calling in the middle of the night where you are

If you and your ex are committed to being good co-parents, you should be able to make this work. However, if your co-parent seems to be interfering with your ability to communicate with your child, you may need to seek legal guidance.