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Parenting at a distance

When parents in Pennsylvania divorce, a top priority for both individuals is maintaining a strong relationship with their children. Complicating matters is the necessity, in some situations, for one or both parents to relocate such that their homes are a significant distance from each other. The noncustodial parent may become particularly anxious about maintaining a parental presence in his or her children’s lives.

Long-distance parenting comes with significant challenges, although the internet, cellphones and social media have made it easier for parents and kids to stay in touch. In many cases, parenting plans acknowledge the importance of both parents being involved in the lives of their children and will support regular visitation as well as communication. Still, there are things that parents can do to help ensure that these plans meet the needs of everyone involved.

Parents should also not require their children to do all the traveling unless it is absolutely necessary due to job, health or family concerns. Noncustodial parents should consider traveling to where their children are currently living, spending time with them and getting to know their teachers and friends. Both parents could agree to drive their children to a “halfway point” to reduce travel time and help ensure more frequent visits.

Parents who are considering divorce or are currently divorced and need to relocate may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer may review his or her client’s situation and make recommendations regarding all aspects of divorced parenting, including child custody, visitation and child support. A move may also require a child custody modification order, which should be negotiated before relocation takes place.