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Crafting a Long-Distance Parenting Plan

Posted on in BGL Law
Crafting a Long-Distance Parenting PlanIf a divorced parent decides to move, he or she can petition to relocate with the child. The court's decision will result in either allowing the child to relocate with one parent or ordering that the child cannot be relocated, even if it means the child will live with the other parent. No matter which parent the child lives with, the parent's relocation alters the existing parenting plan. The parents must return to court to modify the allocation of parental responsibilities, which includes parenting time and decision making. A long-distance parenting plan requires careful consideration of how parental responsibilities are divided and the complexities of travel.

Parenting Time

When divorced parents live near each other, they can each have regular parenting time with their children. Illinois prefers that the children primarily live with one parent, but the other parent may be able to schedule frequent visits. With long-distance parenting plans, parents need to arrange less-regular visits and/or identify times during the year when the children can visit the distant parent for an extended period, such as school breaks and holidays. Though the agreement maintains the distant parent's rights, he or she will likely have a reduced share of parenting time because:

  • Travel time and costs may make it unreasonable for the children to visit frequently;
  • Children are unlikely to spend all of their vacation and holiday time with the distant parent; and
  • Some children are too young to travel frequently or spend long periods away from home.

If a distant parent wants to increase parenting time, he or she can plan to travel to the children for visits.

Dividing Responsibilities

With a long-distance parenting plan, visits become more complicated and costly. Exchanging the children is no longer as simple as one parent dropping them off or picking them up. A court may want to know in detail how the parents will coordinate the visits. It may also order the parents to split the travel expenses. Factors to consider include:

  • The cost of plane tickets;
  • Where a visiting parent will stay while in town;
  • Who the child will spend the night with when a parent is visiting; and
  • If driving, whether one parent will travel the entire distance or both parents will meet at a location in between.

Modifying a Parenting Plan

Long-distance parenting plans can allow distant parents to maintain their relationship with their children through regular visits. A McHenry County family law attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you craft a new parenting plan that fits your needs. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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