What You Need to Know About Long Distance Parenting Plans

mother and child walking together

You and your spouse are calling it quits, and unfortunately, your children are in the middle of it all. To make matters even more complicated, one of you will be moving away, which means that your children can’t easily see you both from one week to the next.

What now? Specifically, how can the parent who moves far away keep the parent-child relationship strong? Can long distance parenting actually work?

Continue reading for my insights on what you need to know about effective long distance parenting plans in California.

What to Take into Consideration for Your Parenting Plan

When you’ll be taking part in long distance co-parenting, not just any parenting agreement will do. Instead, you need to create a plan that is tailored to your and the other parent’s unique living situations.

To start, you need to take into consideration several factors that impact long distance parenting. For instance, how old are your children, and how mature are they for their ages? After all, a parenting plan that may work for a teen would not necessarily work for a 2-year-old child. In addition, not all teenagers may be mature enough to handle flying alone between the parents’ homes.


Another important factor to consider when creating a long distance parenting plan is how far apart the two parents are. If you can drive to the other parent’s house, then parenting time that is semi-monthly or monthly may work. Meanwhile, this might not be realistic if the other parent lives hours away by plane. In addition, frequent flights may not work if you or the other party doesn’t have the economic means to handle this.

Developmental Issue

Let’s say that your child has a development need. You will need to make sure that your parenting plan reflects this. As an example, maybe your child doesn’t handle travel or changes to their routine well. In this situation, the other parent may have to travel to your child versus having your child travel to him or her every time.

Visitation Section of the Plan

An important section to include in your long distance parenting plan is one on how you and the other parent will handle visitation. For instance, your plan should spell out how often the other parent and your child will see each other. Also, how much time will your child spend with the co-parent? Keep in mind that visitation will look different during the academic year compared with during a school break.

In addition, discuss how you’ll handle vacations and holidays. Also, spell out how much advance notice is necessary to schedule visitation or to change an existing visitation schedule.

Communication Section of the Plan

Another important part of your parenting plan is how you will handle communication when executing the plan. For instance, you could use email, video chats, or phone calls to keep in touch with your child while he or she is spending time with the other parent. Also, take into consideration how frequently you and your child will communicate when you are apart.

Receive Help with a Parenting Plan Today

Creating a parenting plan can understandably be challenging, especially if both parties don’t readily see eye to eye on how to handle child custody and visitation. However, figuring out how to create a long distance parenting plan can make things even more complicated for both the parents and the children.

The good news? I, family law attorney Michael C. MacNeil, can help you to successfully create a long distance parenting plan in California. I will make sure that your best interests and rights are upheld during all stages of the negotiation process.

Get in touch with me today to find out more about how to handle long distance co-parenting from a legal standpoint. I’ll help you to make the most of your co-parenting situation in the years ahead.