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What needs to be addressed in a long-distance parenting plan?

When you and your co-parent divorced, you both continued to live in Winston-Salem area, so exchanges were relatively easy. Now your former spouse has accepted a job a thousand miles away.

Your co-parent won't be able to see the kids as often, but you both want your children to have as much time with their other parent as possible. You'll need to modify your original parenting plan to reflect the new geographical situation. Following are some things you will likely need to address.

First, your parenting plan needs to reflect the new visitation schedule. If you already have primary custody, your custody rights won't change, but the frequency of visitation with your co-parent probably will. Your plan needs to address this new visitation schedule. For example, will your children spend winter and spring breaks with your co-parent as well a portion of the summer?

If children are too young to travel alone, you may decide that it's best for the co-parent to come back to North Carolina to spend time with the kids. Again, those visits should be scheduled. You should also designate where your co-parent will stay when they're here — particularly if the kids will be staying with them.

If your kids are traveling to their co-parent's home, you should address transportation provisions. Who will drive them? Who will pay for the gas, hotels and other expenses?

If they'll be flying, are they old enough to fly alone or will you or another adult accompany them? Who will pay for the flights? Airlines vary in their regulations and provisions when it comes to unaccompanied minors, so you'll need to do some research into how the airlines ensure kids' safety and comfort.

When the non-custodial parent lives far away, allowing regular communication is crucial. Some custodial parents are fine with their kids talking on the phone, Skyping, texting or emailing their other parent whenever they want. However, sometimes parents detail the type and regularity of communication in their parenting plan.

Whether you are the one moving or your co-parent is, your North Carolina family law attorney can help you work out a parenting plan that will address these issues and whatever unique issues apply to your family. This can help minimize confusion and conflict and focus on what's in the best interests of your children.

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Scott Law Group, PLLC
210 N. Main Street
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Kernersville, NC 27284

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Phone: 336-310-8569
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