Kennedy Law Associates

Challenges for long-distance parenting after divorce

Moving away from their children can be hard for divorced parents in North Carolina who may worry about how it will affect their relationship. Although they may not see their children in person as often as they would like, long-distance parents can still maintain a strong bond with their children and stay involved in their lives.

One way to do this is by learning about their children's interests, getting to know their friends and meeting their friends' parents. Another is by regular contact maintained using email, text messages and social media. Parents do not have to wait until a scheduled time to phone their children. These messages and conversations should stick to the positive and should show that they are engaged in children's lives by asking them specific questions about school, activities and friends.

Parents should talk to children about whether they have preferences regarding contact and whether the children should visit the parent or the other way around. However the visits are arranged, parents should make sure to build in plenty of alone time with their children. This is not the time for parents to bring along someone they are dating, and partners should only be introduced after they become serious. Above all, parents should focus on making sure their visits are high-quality even if there are fewer of them.

If parents have an existing child custody and visitation schedule in place and one parent needs to relocate, it is generally necessary to return to court to get approval for the relocation and the revised schedule. A parent who will be unable to keep up child support payments because of a job loss or another change in life circumstance might also return to court to request a modification. Otherwise, the parent could fall into arrears even if both parents informally agree to lower the amount.

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