When parents relocate away from one another, our Fort Collins attorneys know the parenting schedule should be molded to the practical logistics of exchanges and travel costs, the facilitation of quality time between parents and children, and the maintenance of a cohesive and structured calendar the child can come to enjoy and depend upon.
Numerous elements and variations can be incorporated into a Long Distance Parenting Plan. How many or how few of these elements are included is at discretion of the child’s parents, although the most effective Long Distance Parenting Plans will ensure the incorporation of certain elements.
The annual visitation schedule, which will include:
A recurring period of dates throughout the year when the minor child visits the Long Distance Parent at their home residence. This may include summer, winter and spring break visits.
Alternatively, if schedules are not predictable, a parent may elect to have visits by providing the other parent with advanced notice after clearing dates to ensure the child doesn’t miss out on special events.
Visits where the child lives primarily should be considered as many parents who relocate to another state often have family and friends and will return to visit. Visits where the child resides primarily could also include attending routine doctors visits and may be an opportunity for some face to face time with the child’s teachers.
Time periods when the child will visit with the Long Distance Parent during each calendar year:
Children have numerous breaks from school, including summer, holiday, and spring break. These time breaks from school should be specifically designated in a Long Distance parenting time schedule to allow both parents to enjoy travel and holiday time with the minor child. By incorporating such specifics into the parenting plan, less questions and controversies will arise about how the child’s breaks from school may be allocated to each parent.
A holiday schedule should be included and detail which holidays and school breaks will be spent with each parent, in alternating years until the child reaches the age of majority.
How missed Parenting time will be made up and rescheduled
Emergencies happen, especially when children are involved. A good parenting plan will have built in provisions for how such eventualities will be addressed to make sure the Long Distance Parent does not lose their critical Parenting Time with their child. Such provisions will include:
How soon the Parenting time will be rescheduled if missed?
Who will bear the cost of changes in travel itineraries?
What kinds of emergencies allow for changes in a scheduled Long Distance visit?