It's not uncommon for two parents to live in different states. However, just because these situations are common does not mean it's easy to organize your shared parenting arrangements.
Imagine you live in a neighboring state approximately eight hours away by car, and you have visitation rights. You and your ex will need to make an agreement not only about when you will get to spend time with your children but about how you will share the automobile transportation responsibilities of getting your children from one parent to the other.
Organizing the details of long-distance auto transportation
Like it or not, driving your children long-distance to satisfy parental visitation requirements is a serious time commitment. For this reason, many parents make arrangements to share the responsibility of driving the children.
Parents living a long driving distance from one another should consider the following questions -- and answer them -- in their parent plans. By addressing the following questions pertaining to driving children from one home to another, parents can avoid the potential for disagreement later on down the road:
- Who is responsible for driving the child? Will one parent assume all of the responsibility of picking up and dropping off the child at the other parent's home?
- Will the parents meet halfway? Often parents will choose a location halfway between their homes where they will do the exchange. This is often the easiest way to manage child transfers because it allows the parents to share the burden 50-50.
- Will the parents share the costs associated with driving? Perhaps one parent will assume all transportation costs, such as paying for tolls and gas when the other parent is driving.
- Can anyone else help drive the child for visitations? Perhaps a new spouse, stepparent, nanny, another family member or family friend will have permission to help in transferring the children from one home to the other.
Make sure you get to spend time with your child
It doesn't matter how far away you live from your child, as the noncustodial parent you should be able to spend time with him or her. Not only is it important for you and your child's happiness to spend time with one another, but -- in most circumstances -- it's also your legal right as a parent.