How Do I Co-Parent When My Children Live in Another State?

Parenting a child, no matter what your circumstances are, can be extremely difficult. My wife and I have three young children, and every day is exciting and full of love, but I would be dishonest with you if I didn’t say that each day was also full of challenges. My family and yours probably go through many similar challenges and struggles daily. That’s one of the great things about being a human being: the things you go through are shared by people both near and far from you. I think there is something need about that, which we can learn from; yes, we endure one year of this pandemic.

People who go through a divorce will tell me that they would make any sacrifice or bear any burden to ensure that their relationship with their child is Not harmed. Parents will go to great lengths to ensure that they can stay in the same home with the children they have grown up in or share in the traditions that the family has developed despite any challenges posed by divorce. There is something about a divorce that causes people to understand just how important the little things are in life when it comes to your children.

With that said, raising a child after a divorce can be a gratifying experience. I say this because in raising your children separately from your spouse, you have the opportunity to show your kids what it is like to overcome adversity and to succeed despite obstacles and hindrances that you may not have caused. We don’t get to choose all of the circumstances in life that we face, but we get to choose the attitude we approach those circumstances with. If you are anything like me and want to help your children develop good character, then you’re being up for the challenge of raising your kids after divorce could certainly help your children develop a great deal of character positively.

However, I think the ultimate challenge to raising a child after divorce is in dealing with your Co-parent. There is no doubt that one of the reasons you are getting a divorce is an inability to function as a married couple with your spouse. Whether or not you both hold that opinion, all it takes is for one of you to think that you do not function well together to justify filing a divorce. This can sometimes be a harsh realization for those of you staring down a divorce that goes against your wishes. Regardless, you can approach the divorce with a positive attitude and a desire to do what is best for your children.

Raising children with Co-parent hands emotional, logistical, and communicative difficulties. All the technology has stepped up to assist parents; it is still difficult to raise a child with the person you are not living with. Parents in a post-divorce world have to step up their game, both their parents and communicators, to bridge the gap and ensure that they function well as a team. Sometimes the realization does not hit people until after their divorce that they are only beginning a new relationship with the very person they are divorcing.

These challenges are present for every set of parents who are going through a divorce. No matter who you are or your circumstances, if you are a parent, you will learn how to manage your relationship with your Co-parent and with your child in the years following your divorce. If you failed to learn how to do so, your child would suffer the most. Well, most courts were choir divorcing parents to undergo coursework and learning how to co-parent effectively. I can tell you that there is no substitute for the real deal. Engaging in efforts to raise your child with your ex-spouse, I can teach you a range of skills, and no class or online seminar can provide you with.

Where you live after your divorce will determine a great deal for you as a parent

the most significant adjustment for you after your divorce when it comes to raising your child will be living in a separate house from them a great deal over the years. No matter if you are the parrot with whom your child resides primarily or if you are the parent who has Visitation with your child, there will be days and sometimes even weeks at a time where you will not see her child. Going from a situation where you could spend endless amounts of time with your child to a circumstance where you have only finite periods to do so can be a huge transition for many parents.

For this reason, many parents will want to move as close as possible to their child after the divorce. If you are the parent with whom your child resides primarily, then you may choose to live in the same house you always have to maintain a sense of normalcy for your child, the consistent learning environment at school, and to maintain a social network that is largely the same for your child. Of course, many circumstances can arise, which don’t allow you to remain in the same home, but that is a topic for another day.

Even if you are not in a position where you can live with your children on a full-time basis, you can still choose to live as close to them as possible; for instance, I have been a part of many divorces where a parent will work to ensure that they can move within the same neighborhood to make the logistical difficulties associated with transportation of children after divorce much less significant. Well, this may not seem like a huge deal to you as a parent at this point. I can tell you that transporting children to and from your house and your ex-bosses house can become tedious.

Simple, weekend Visitation. Start with you and your ex-spouse getting the children ready for an exchange. Most of the time, if you are this expose who has Visitation with the child that weekend, you would go to your children’s home and pick them up in your vehicle for the weekend. However, some families cannot handle these types of scenarios, and pick up and drop off may have to occur in the Pokémon of a restaurant, store, or even in front of a police or constables station.

Wherever you are pick up and drop off points are, it is important to note that typically these experiences take place at 6 in the evening on a Friday. This may seem relatively simple, but if you work across town from where you live or where your children live, it can be a hassle and a headache to get out of work and then make it to your child’s home on time every other weekend for pick up. Although your schedule may have become modified in response to the coronavirus, your schedule may change again as early as later this year based on what happens with this pandemic. You cannot base your future ability to transport your children effectively on your schedule right now, given that it may change as circumstances change with this pandemic.

Other times, you may not be in a position to be able to move into the same neighborhood as your children. For instance, quickly after the divorce, you may become involved in a romantic relationship where you move in with a partner where they reside far from where your children live. Your circumstances may not allow for a quick move, so you end up living miles and miles away from where the children do. You should consider this and build your schedule around needing to drive across town to pick your children up.

The other consideration that you may need to make is regarding your work schedule and where you live. Even if you live close to where your children live, it may be that you work outside of town on most weekends. It would be best if you were realistic about how often you can see your children based on your job requirements. Do not bite off more than you can chew when it comes to visitation. You can come back and modify your court orders if your circumstances materially and substantially changed.

What happens if you move out of state after your divorce?

A circumstance that may come into play that impacts many areas of your life during and after divorce is if you end up moving out of state. Depending on when you move, this can create some difficult circumstances within your case that need to be dealt with sooner rather than later. It should be fairly obvious that your ability to parent your child can depend in large part on your physical presence with them. Given that you may be residing out of state after the divorce, this calls into question the role he can play consistently in your Child’s life.

In the immediate sense, anyone can guess how air travel will function even after the pandemic ends. Will your child need to be vaccinated for the coronavirus before they can fly? Will airlines allow children to travel at a certain age without parental supervision? Will your child have to show proof of vaccination or other health information and word to fly anymore? These are all questions that we do not have firm answers to at this point. If you are interested and finding out about these things, your best bet is to ask the airline directly and inquire with your attorney how you should proceed in this regard.

In the long term, if you plan on living outside of the state of Texas, then you should be prepared for that decision to have ripple effects throughout your life. Of course, it is likely unrealistic that you would be able to maintain an atypical position schedule with your child if you live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from them. That doesn’t mean that you will never get to see your child, but it does not mean that you will need to be flexible and help a Co-parent who is willing to work with you on the logistics of seeing your child.

Once we get past logistical and other issues associated with raising your child when you live out of state after divorce, we need to discuss how you can effectively Co-parent with an ex-spouse; we need to live in different households and reside in different states. The first thing that I would do if I were you and considering living in another state from your children after divorce would be to think about how necessary it is for you to do so. I think many people put themselves in circumstances where they leave themselves two options and do not consider a laundry list of other choices that can be selected.

For example, you may be considering a move during the divorce to another state because, in your mind, you cannot find work that pays as well as he’s out of state jobs here in Texas. So, you may approach the issue as one of either you stay in Texas and continue to make a modest living with little hope of upward mobility, or you take a job out of state because that’s the only way for you to move up as far as income is concerned. My perspective is that things in life are rarely this cut and dry period; well, it may feel emotional like this is your reality; that does it mean that the real world feels this way about your income earning potential.

Another consideration for you if you already have court orders in place is to think about whether or not there is a geographic restriction in your child custody or divorce orders. A geographic restriction requires a child to live within a certain boundary here in Texas. That restriction could be limited to a County, a group of counties, or even something as small as a school district. Not every final order contains a geographic restriction, but many do. There are consequences of moving outside of a certain geographic area noted in the restriction.

Most notably, if you are the parent who has visitation rights over your child, that geographic restriction is really in a place to protect you from your ex-spouse picking up and moving away with your child at a moment’s notice. That would mean you would need to follow around your child from city to city or even state to state to remain close to them. The geographic restriction essentially forces your ex-spouse to live in a certain area so that you have an opportunity to have a relationship with your child after the divorce comes to a close.

If you choose to move outside of that geographic area after your divorce or child custody case has been finalized, then the geographic restriction and its requirements go up in smoke. At that point, your ex-spouse is free to move outside that geographic area which puts you in the position that we just described: where your exposure is free to move wherever they want with no regard for where you are living. This is not a great position to be in, and for that reason, I would strongly consider your options before deciding to move outside of the state of Texas after your divorce or child custody case is complete.

There are many issues associated with living outside of Texas after a divorce or child custody case. Since your relationship with your child depends so much on your ability to spend time with them, I would suggest that you speak with an experienced family law attorney before making any decisions about where you will be living after a case comes to an end.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your circumstances and that of your family can be impacted by a child custody or divorce case. Thank you for joining us on our blog. We hope to see you again tomorrow.

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