Current and future residential locations of custodial parties are of utmost importance in negotiating child visitation schedules. If one spouse can foresee the possibility of future relocation across state lines, it should be mentioned in an original custody agreement. This prevents the need for modification of the agreement in the future, which can be quite costly. Almost every state has now enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which recognizes and enforces child custody agreements even when entered by a judge in another state.
Parents who have joint custody of children, but live in different states, are not as uncommon as you may think. As such, a court can approve and allow what is known as “virtual visitation.” This allows set days and times for the parent and child to communicate via electronic methods such as video conferencing. It is a very useful took in that it allows parents to maintain a close, involved connection with a child without the need for frequent, extensive travel.
In a divorce, a child’s best interests are what matters the most. Imagine how difficult it would be for any child to maintain friendships, stay involved in extracurricular activities, or just enjoy some down-time if they were expected to travel to another state every other weekend. Parents who live in different states often need to get creative with a visitation schedule, taking in full consideration of the child’s normal schedule. Maybe it is best for the child to stay primarily with the mother during the school year, but fly out and spend half of the summer with the father. This is just one option of many.
An attorney can assist in drafting a proposed visitation schedule that will allow all family members to maintain vital connections and facilitate healthy relationships for years to come.