Your company is relocating to larger headquarters across the country and you have been presented with an ultimatum: move to California and keep your job, or stay in New Jersey and possibly end up on the unemployment line. It’s a tough decision for anyone to make, but when you’re a divorced parent with set parenting time with your kids, relocating out of state can mean big changes. What are your options?
Relocation & Parenting Time Plans
If you are a parent who has alternating weekend parenting time with your children, plus one overnight per week, it is, of course, impossible for you as a family to keep this exact schedule if you are moving to San Francisco to open your company’s newest branch. What can you do to ensure that you continue to have a strong and continual presence in your kids’ lives? Here are some tips to make your move easier on you and on your family:
Talk to their other parent
If possible, sit down with your kids’ other parent and attempt to work out a new schedule that can serve the entire family. Avoid making demands, coming to the table angry or digging in your heels in your positions. Don’t forget: you are the one relocating, and demanding that your children be flown first class across the country every weekend on your former spouse’s dime will probably get you nowhere fast. Instead, try to hammer out a workable and reasonable plan that fairly divides not only the costs involved, but the time involved getting the kids to and from your new location. If it is financially possible, offer to pick up their transportation costs in order to have them able to travel more frequently to see you. Or, make all the arrangements to get them to and from their destinations to alleviate the pressure on their other parent. Above all, strive to be rational and evenhanded. Avoiding conflict now will certainly help you avoid it later, when you are cross-country.
Be creative with your parenting time
Sure, you may have to give up every other weekend with your kids if you relocate. But, get creative! Start thinking about the time you plan to spend with them differently. Perhaps you can have them spend the entire summer break with you in San Francisco in an attempt to make up that missed time that you had on the alternating weekends. Or, suggest that you have them for the Christmas and winter and/or spring break vacations from school. You may also consider traveling back to New Jersey to spend time with them here. Hopefully, your ex will have an open door policy so that you can come back to see them when you can, with reasonable notice to their other parent. Of course it’s difficult to be away from your kids for long stretches of time, but having them for an entire summer has its pros, too!
Consider alternate methods of parenting
We are existing in a digital age, without question. Why not incorporate these technological advances into your parenting time? Skype, FaceTime, email, etc. are all great ways to spend time from your kids when you can’t be with each other physically. Just a short email or text message letting your kids know that you are thinking about them is a great little way to keep connected over the miles. If you can, and it is appropriate for their ages, consider providing them with their own cellphones so that you can reach out to them when convenient, without having to use their other parent as a facilitator or a go-between. Electronics are not a substitute for one-on-one time with your kids, but it can help bridge the gaps between your in-person times together.
Remember to always keep your children’s best interests at heart, work with your ex and in time you’ll be in the groove in your new state with a great relationship with your kids in place. And, of course, always get it in writing! Whatever mutually agreed upon changes you make to your existing parentage should be reviewed by your family attorney.
Need to speak with a family law attorney now? If you have further questions about parenting time, relocation or any other family law matter, contact us to schedule your initial attorney consultation. Secure your future with your kids. Call today: 888-888-0919.