I have seen many clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, come into our office to discuss with us just how hard it is to co-parent with your ex-spouse when you all live across town from one another. The logistics of travel, school events, and other experiences can make this a challenging part of raising children after divorce.
These difficulties are exacerbated when you live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from your children. How can you best handle your parenting responsibilities from such a great distance?
How to handle parenting when your children move across state lines
It happens on occasion that your children and ex-spouse move from you, rather than the other way around. Typically, fathers find themselves in this situation, and it is normal for feelings of anger and sadness to bubble to the surface if you count yourself among those parents who have been left in Texas.
What you've become accustomed to in terms of possession of your kids is regular time with them at least once per week and often more. If you and your ex-spouse have been able to come to agreements on more flexible periods of possession, then you may have been able to see them almost every day.
Your new life will, unfortunately, be much different, however. Now, spur-of-the-moment ideas for trips to an amusement park or the beach will need to be substituted with weeks of planning for a day or two of visitation. The summer will allow you to most likely have upwards of six weeks of visitation rather than the one month you had been afforded previously when you all lived in the same area. The extended school year is the primary concern for you, most likely. How do you handle this period, and how can you maximize your ability to spend time with your children?
The key for you is not to give up and concede anything in terms of time with your children. Think about why you hired a lawyer, attended hearings and mediations, and ultimately spent money in the first place- to make sure that you and your children's relationship would not suffer just because you and their other parent are no longer married just because you cannot be with your children as frequently as you once did not mean that you won't be able to be a significant part of their lives.
Connecting with your children when distance is a factor
Whether you are a huge advocate and fan of technology or not, you ought to become familiar with face chat opportunities through your cell phone provider and Skype for long-distance video phone calls. While it is never a bad thing to give your children a call on the phone, allowing them to see your face can make a stronger emotional impression on them. For you, seeing the smiling face of your children can provide you with a massive lift if you are feeling upset at the prospect of seeing your children less frequently than before.
Of course, any method of keeping in contact with your children is preferable to no method at all. Text messages and phone calls are essential but serve an essential purpose at keeping you connected with them. Children's activities frequently change, so making sure you're aware of what sport is in season or what club has a trip upcoming can show your kids that you are actively taking an interest in their lives. I have seen parents willing to share an online calendar where the kids' events are posted so that the parent who lives away can keep a mental schedule of what is upcoming.
Look to your Court Orders for help.
Many parents work into their court orders a provision or two that calls for weekly communication periods. Please make sure you know what time slots you have been allotted to speak to your kids on the phone, FaceTime with them, etc. These are expected to provide you with a bare minimum of communication which, of course, you should try to expand upon.
However, don't miss whatever time you have been ordered to make an effort to contact your children. Your kids thrive on consistency and stability. Even if they don't seem too enthused to speak to you initially, remember that while the content of your conversations may not stick with them, the fact that you consistently made an effort to reach them certainly will.
Going the extra mile (no pun intended) is the essential part of connecting with your children.
Regardless of how you choose to remain in your children's lives, there is no substitute for effort on your part. This is not something you can expect your ex-spouse or your children to do for you. It would help if you went the extra mile to set up a time to correspond with your children, relate to them, and bond with them however you can.
When you have an opportunity to visit them and spend time with them, you need to take advantage of each opportunity. Throughout your divorce and any subsequent modification, I'm willing to bet that you told your family and friends that the only thing you cared about at the end of the day were your kids and your relationship with them. Well, now you have a chance to prove that sentiment to be true.
Questions about interstate parenting? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If you find yourself separated from your children and need advice on how to function better as a parent or if you want to attempt a modification to change the frequency with which you can see your children, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.
Our attorneys represent clients across southeast Texas who have found themselves in situations similar to yours. A free-of-charge consultation is available to you six days a week.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: "16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce"
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring, TX, is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.