It’s challenging to be a long-distance parent after separation or divorce. Whether your job requires you to live in another state or you’re in the military and deployed overseas, you can’t help but feel like you’re missing important moments in your child’s life.
Fortunately, there are numerous options for communication that can allow you to see and talk to your child regularly. But what if your co-parent prevents you from communicating with your child? This is more often a problem when a child is too young to have their own phone, tablet or laptop. Even if they do, a parent may place blocks on it that prevent them from accessing video chat apps on their own. A long-distance parent can also overdo the “virtual visitation” by calling their child multiple times a day and interfering with meals, homework and sleep.
Put a communication plan in place
Even if you think the two of you will maturely manage the communication, it’s wise to include a communication provision in your parenting plan or custody and visitation agreement. This will help everyone, including your child, have some predictability.
The communication plan can be as general or specific as you like. However, it’s wise to at least establish how often the long-distance parent will communicate with the child (whether it’s twice a day or once a week). You may want to include how the communication will take place and what time.
Of course, you won’t always be able to adhere to the schedule. That’s why it’s a good idea to note that if a call doesn’t occur, the long-distance parent can schedule a make-up call at a time convenient for everyone
Is your co-parent keeping you from talking to your child?
It’s to be expected that sometimes your child may be in bed sick or late getting home from soccer practice. However, if this becomes a regular occurrence, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if your co-parent is interfering with your visitation rights. Saying that your child doesn’t want to talk to you or that they’ve lost their phone or computer privileges over a disciplinary issue isn’t acceptable
Whether you haven’t yet developed a communication plan or your co-parent isn’t adhering to the one you have, legal guidance can help you maintain your parent-child bond, no matter how far apart you are.