How Can I Visit My Kids if I Live in Another State? 

 Posted on September 30, 2022 in Child Custody and Visitation

dad's divorce lawyerOne of the most significant challenges following divorce is adjusting to life in two single-parent homes. For children, this can be a particularly hard transition, especially if movement between parents is chaotic and unpredictable. For fathers, it can be a time filled with conflict, uncertainty, and the fear that spending less time with your children may result in a more distant relationship. 

For fathers who live in a different state than their children, this fear can be particularly acute. You may not be able to afford to transport the children between their other parent’s home and your own as frequently as you would like. You may find it difficult to talk to them on the phone, especially if their other parent tries to prevent electronic communication. Fortunately, even if your children move to another state, you can still ask a court to instate a visitation order that allows you to maintain a warm, close relationship with your children. 

Long-Distance Parenting and Visitation

Long-distance parenting schedules usually, by necessity, have the children spend the majority of the year with one parent. School schedules prohibit frequently traveling back and forth, especially if the distance is great. One thing a judge may consider when deciding how to allocate visitation is whether you or your ex is the one who wanted to move out of state. 

Custody orders usually have rules about how parents with custody of children can move, so it may require permission from a judge and a change to the custody order to move out of state with children. If you previously lived close to your children and your ex moved out of state with them to be closer to her family or to work at another job, a judge may grant permission to your ex to take the children as long as she is responsible for ensuring they still get to see you regularly. The conditions of the visitation will depend on how far away your children live, how expensive it is to move them back and forth, and how much time you spent with them before they moved. Judges are increasingly less likely to approve an out-of-state move if it would take children away from a father with whom they spend a lot of time. 

However, if your children do end up living in a different state than you, there may be further options. You can request that electronic visitation be included in your custody order. This means you will have regular, scheduled electronic time with your child, whether it be over the phone, video call, or even playing video games together using a headset to communicate. If electronic visitation is part of a custody agreement, your ex must follow it the same way she would have to follow in-person visitation. 

If moving the children between households is very expensive, time-consuming, or impractical, you may want to travel to see your children when they are unable to come to see you for an extended period of time (such as during the summer months). Be creative, submit a fair proposal to a judge asking for as much time with your children as possible, and, most importantly, make sure you work hard at staying in touch with your children, even when it is hard. They may not remember which weekend they spent with which parent, but they will remember that their father loved them and took every opportunity to stay in their lives. 

Meet with a Local Father’s Rights Divorce Attorney

It is possible to maintain your relationship with your children, even when you live far away from them. If you want help creating a child custody order that allows you to see your children often, including mandated provisions for electronic parenting time, call an experienced father’s rights attorney near you who can help. 




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