Addressing long-distance parenting in custody and visitation

| Aug 27, 2020 | Family Law, Gordon & Hess, PLC |

After a Michigan couple parts ways, child custody and visitation can be one of the most contentious issues they will deal with. To make these situations more complicated, the parents might live far apart making it harder to navigate custody and visitation. Whether the parties are amicable or there is lingering ill-will stemming from the end of the marriage, the state will try to ensure that the parents each have sufficient time and influence with the child’s upbringing even if they do not live close by.

Understanding long distance parenting time

If the parties are separated by at least 180 miles, long distance parenting time will be a consideration. Since an extended distance separates the parents and the child, there could be concerns about child custody, visitation and the exchange. This can also stoke tension between the sides. Due to the distance, breaks from school will have a different landscape in terms of where the child stays and for how long.

Parents are advised to have a long-term plan for transporting the child for these breaks. A minimum of 30 days is advised. When there is the need to send the child by air, there are rules that airlines have regarding unaccompanied minors. Age is a key factor in this. Obviously, very young children cannot travel alone and the age at which it will be appropriate for a child to travel alone will be assessed. Some situations require supervision during parenting time. Safety will be paramount in these instances.

It is possible for there to be a joint custody arrangement even if there is a relatively significant distance between the parents. Financially, the parent who moves the greater distance will generally be obligated to pay for transportation, but the financial situation will have a role in determining this. During a summer break, the child will generally be with one parent for six consecutive weeks without weekends or holidays with the other parent. Winter and spring breaks can be alternated.

Legal protection for family laws cases

Child custody and visitation is one of the most common reasons for dispute between divorced parents. If there is a distance between the parents and the child must be shuttled back and forth to adhere to custody and visitation orders, it can be made worse. People who are concerned about this or have any other challenge they are facing in a family law case, it is wise to have legal advice from the start to serve the best interests of the child and formulate a workable agreement.