A custodial parent who wants to relocate with their child often faces custody modification concerns. There may be court hearings that they need to attend to ensure that this decision will be in the child’s best interest. And there are many other factors to consider, such as the other parent’s visitation rights.
Nevertheless, once the court approves the request to relocate, a well-thought-out relocation plan must be in place. Having one ensures that the child’s relationship with both parents remains protected despite the distance. This plan typically includes important aspects of the child’s relationship with the nonrelocating parent, such as:
Perhaps it is one of the most difficult to agree on, but there should be specific dates and times for visitation allotted for the noncustodial parent. The schedule should include regular visitation periods, such as holidays, school breaks and extended weekends. But what is more important is that this schedule must be consistent so as not to disrupt the child’s routine or affect their expectations.
Thanks to advancements in technology, it is now easier to bridge the gap between the child and the nonrelocating parent through virtual communication. Different platforms can facilitate regular video calls, phone calls and even social media interactions. The parents just have to ensure that communication with the child happens regularly and in line with the approved relocation plan.
Special occasions and events
The relocating parent should also include the nonrelocating parent in the child’s special occasions and events. Even if not physically, there should be at least an effort to share photos, videos and updates. These events may include school activities, birthdays and moving-up ceremonies.
Consistency and open communication
Both parents should work together to maintain consistency in the child’s life. Doing so can help the child feel safe and secure, and this can help avoid behavioral issues. Parents must be consistent with their parenting rules, routines and values, regardless of the physical distance. In addition, they must maintain open communication as they regularly discuss the child’s well-being, progress and any concerns that may arise.
These aspects can help in ensuring the relocation or parenting plan is enforced effectively. However, there may be times when the existing parenting plan might need to be modified to accommodate the new living arrangements. Both parents should agree on any necessary changes. They may need to seek mediation or legal assistance.
If the relocating parent fails to uphold the agreed-upon visitation and communication arrangements, the nonrelocating parent may also need to seek legal remedies to enforce the court-approved plan.