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Interstate Parenting Plans Help With Long Distance Parenting

Updated on March 8, 2012

It’s not uncommon for people to move far away, such as to take a new job or to continue their education. Moving from one state to another is a stressful event, but it becomes even more so when it is a divorced parent who is facing leaving his or her children.

When you divorced, you and the other parent agreed to a parenting plan that outlined the manner in which you would cooperatively parent your children. This plan generally includes custody issues, parenting standards you must meet and a visitation schedule. When one of you makes the decision to move out of state, it’s time to create a new interstate parenting plan.

Long distance parenting requires consistent and creative methods to stay close to your children when you live far apart.
Long distance parenting requires consistent and creative methods to stay close to your children when you live far apart. | Source

What is an Interstate Parenting Plan?

The interstate parenting plan is used when one parent lives far away from the children and their primary residence. An interstate parenting plan should include all the standard information from the previous parenting plan.

However, it should include some topics that you may not have had to address before, such as travel, long distance contact and a revised visitation schedule.

Child custody laws differ from state to state, an interstate parenting plan must be compatible with the rights and responsibilities of both children and parents, regardless of where they are residing. In interstate custody cases, there are specialized laws that have been established to provide consistency and conformity between states.

These laws include the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

Because people are highly mobile, interstate parenting plans are becoming more common. When you have to move and end up living in a different state than your children and the other parent, get together to create a parenting plan that looks out for your children’s best interests.

Creating an Interstate Parenting Plan

The interstate parenting plan is the key to documenting important decisions regarding physical and legal custody as well as visitation rights for your children. Provisions concerning the specifics of interstate travel should also be well documented.

Here are 4 things that you must include as you revise your standard parenting plan into an interstate parenting plan:

  1. Include details regarding the rules for traveling between the residences. Depending on the age and maturity of your children, travel can be one of the biggest obstacles to regular visitations. Decide who will travel, how travel will take place, and who will pay for it.
  2. Specify communication patterns between the distant parent and the children with regard to telephone, mail, and email. Your children should be allowed regular contact with both parents via standard reasonable technology. Both of you must commit to develop a plan that allows quality contact between parents and children.
  3. Create a new interstate custody schedule that outlines when the children will travel to the distant parent and when the distant parent can visit the children in their own city. Look at school vacations and long weekends as ideal times for out of state visits. You will probably have to rework how the holidays will be spent with two parents so far apart.
  4. Agree to evaluate how the interstate parenting plan is working after a set period of time. Because it is impossible to predict life events, you may need to revise the interstate parenting plan within a few years. As children grow and change, visitations will evolve into longer and perhaps less frequent stays. Anticipate that your lives will somehow change and set up guidelines for managing future schedule changes.

Your children deserves two loving parents who work together to promote healthy bonding and proper development.
Your children deserves two loving parents who work together to promote healthy bonding and proper development. | Source

Revising the Interstate Parenting Plan

If your parenting plan designed for interstate co-parenting is simply not working, you can petition the family court where the divorce was processed for a revision. Ideally, you and the other parent will work together to come up with as solution to the problems.

If you submit the petition for a revision, you must show that the current interstate parenting plan is somehow detrimental to your children’s health and development. The family court is interested in making the children’s lives as stable and caring as possible. If your revisions provide a solution to the problems, there’s a good chance the judge will agree with your recommendations.

To create a sample interstate parenting plan to use in court, choose Custody X Change, an award-winning software designed to help you make even the most complex parenting plan decisions easier with detailed templates. You can also create custody schedules that make a visitation calendar to print out or upload to your mobile devices.

Just because one of you is living far away from your children, it’s in their best interest to have both parents involved in their lives. Parents who are seeking the best for their children must commit to working together to create an interstate parenting plan that meets their children’s needs.


Before you file paperwork, create a sample interstate parenting plan using software such as Custody X Change.
Before you file paperwork, create a sample interstate parenting plan using software such as Custody X Change. | Source

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