Long Distance Co-Parenting For The 99 Percent
Family law courts acknowledge that no two families are alike, and therefore every parenting plan is unique. Furthermore, the parenting plans reflect each family’s financial circumstances. For example, if Mom works five overnight shifts per week, the parenting plan might specify that Dad should drop off the children at Stepdad’s mother’s house every Sunday evening, even though Mom and Stepdad are both at work. Another parenting plan might specify that the oldest daughter should stay with Mom on every weekend that she has an equestrian meet and with Dad on every weekend that she does not. If the parties live far from each other, the parenting must address long-distance transportation. School-aged children whose parents have sufficient financial means can travel by airplane unaccompanied, with one parent escorting them to the departure gate and the other meeting them at the arrival gate, but this is well beyond the resources of most families. One of the reasons that a parent’s decision to move out of state is often so fraught with conflict is that transporting children on multiple interstate road trips per year is burdensome, both financially and because of the expenditure of time and effort. If you and your ex-spouse live far apart and transporting your children in accordance with the parenting plan is a challenge, contact a Palm Beach County child custody lawyer.
Transporting Children to Meetup Point Puts a Dent in Mom’s Ability to Work
When Bridget and Bradley finalized their parenting plan, she was living in Louisiana and he was living in northern Florida. Bridget had more parenting time than Bradley, and both parties worked. The parenting plan specified that the parties should meet at a centrally located point in Alabama when transferring their two children from one parent to the other. Bridget had to take so many days off of work to drive to Alabama that her employer threatened to fire her, so she simply didn’t deliver the children to Bradley until she had enough time off of work to make the trip. Because Bridget failed to allow Bradley to exercise his parenting time, he petitioned the court to make him the primary residential parent, which it did. Bridget appealed the ruling, but the appeals court upheld the trial court’s decision.
The parties could have resolved this dispute by not waiting until months had gone by without Bradley seeing the children before they went to court. Since the transportation arrangement was incompatible with Bridget’s work obligations, she could have petitioned the court to modify the parenting plan. For example, she could have asked to change it to one that involved fewer trips, even if it meant that the children would spend most of the summer with Bradley. She could have also requested different travel arrangements, such as having another family member transport the children.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
A Boca Raton child custody lawyer can help you develop a parenting plan that enables your children to spend adequate time with both parents, even if the parents live in two different states. Contact Schwartz | White for help today.