If you’re a long-distance parent following separation or divorce, you likely feel like you’re missing out on a lot. Maintaining regular communication can be challenging, even with so many options available. Even if your co-parent makes sure you can spend time with your child regularly through video chats, life can get in the way.
It can be far worse when the parent with primary custody blocks communication. If your child is too young to access video chat apps and other forms of communication on their own, you rely on your co-parent to facilitate your visits.
How do you know your co-parent is preventing you from visiting with your child?
Does your child always seem to be unavailable when you call at the scheduled time? Does your co-parent say they’re sick, at a friend’s house or don’t want to talk to you? Does no one pick up when you call?
As long as you’re calling at agreed-on times (and only those times), your co-parent should have your child available and ready to visit. It’s one thing for them to be unavailable occasionally, but not regularly. Denying a child their visit should never be part of a punishment, either.
Put a communication plan in place
If you don’t have a communication plan included in your parenting plan or other parenting agreements (or haven’t reached that stage of your divorce yet), it may be time to get one. At the very least, it should include how many times per week (or perhaps per day) you can visit with your child. You may want to specify whether it’s video chats and/or phone calls. You should also stipulate that if a visit must be missed, a make-up visit will be scheduled as soon as possible.
Having a detailed plan can help you maintain your relationship with your child when you can’t be together. It also makes expectations clear so that, if necessary, you can enforce them if your co-parent doesn’t cooperate.
It’s also crucial for you to hold up your side of the agreement. For example, don’t call multiple times a day saying there’s something you just have to tell your child. Don’t reschedule calls unless you have no choice. Whether you need to develop a long-distance communication plan or enforce the one you have, it’s best to have experienced legal guidance.