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Co-Parenting from Different States

Sharing custody with a co-parent who lives out of state comes with unique challenges. Here are some tips for long-distance co-parents. 

Co-parenting is challenging enough when two parents live relatively close to one another. When parents with shared custody live in different states, co-parenting can take on a whole new level of difficulty. In most co-parenting relationships, there is a joint physical custody agreement in place, and the children spend time residing in both parent’s homes (though it may not be exactly 50-50).  

When one parent lives in a different state from the children, the parenting plan and custody arrangement suddenly looks very different. Most children don’t spend half of a school year in one state and half in another. In these long-distance co-parenting situations, a child might spend the school year with one parent, and extended school breaks with the other. 

For the parent who does not have the child residing with them most of the time, staying connected and involved in their child’s life becomes more difficult. Staying connected with your children when they do not live with you takes tremendous effort from both parents. Co-parents must make an extra effort to stay connected with their children across the miles. Here are some things you should think about right away to successfully co-parent from different states:  

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Travel arrangements 

You and your co-parent should decide how to handle travel arrangements in advance. With one parent living out of state, everyone will be traveling more often. If you are the parent who does not have the children during the school year, it’s important to make some scheduled visits to see your children in their home state. This way, you can get to know your kids’ friends, visit their school, and be a part of their life in the area they primarily live in. It’s important for co-parents to be supportive of each other’s involvement from different states, and it’s beneficial for you to both make decisions regarding travel expenses, the kids’ travel plans where you will stay when you come to visit, and where the kids will stay when you visit. 

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Communication with your kids 

Consistent, regular communication with your kids is crucial. If you are the co-parent living in another state, you should establish specific days and times for video chats and phone calls with your children. This is your time to connect with your kids and keep up with everything they have going on day-to-day. A great way to do this is through TalkingParents’ Accountable Calling feature, which includes Video Calling and Phone CallingVideo Calling can be a great way to engage with your children because you can see each other face-to-face, in real-time. All calls are recorded, and you can also leave each other video voicemails. If you are not the out-of-state co-parent, it’s important to be respectful of this time between your child and their other parent.  

Communication with your co-parent 

Communication between co-parents becomes even more critical when one parent lives out of state. Keeping all lines of communication open is vital to you and your child’s success. A shared calendar is one of the most helpful tools available. TalkingParents offers a Shared Calendar that can help you and your co-parent stay updated on everything going on in your child’s life, from routine doctor appointments, to special events and activities, to travel days and schedules.  

Utilize technology when co-parenting from out of state 

A co-parenting communication service, like TalkingParents, can be enormously helpful when co-parenting from different states. We offer features that allow you to keep all communications, coordination, and documentation in one, secure place. You can also utilize other technology platforms that offer online games and activities to have fun with your kids when you’re apart. With hard work and strong communication, co-parenting can work no matter where your family is located.

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