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How can one avoid missing out on parenting time from a distance?

Long distance relationships can be difficult to maintain for even the most devoted of people. When a parent has to try to maintain parenting time with his or her child from afar, however, it can be even more upsetting. Some New Jersey residents may be familiar with such arrangements, which can arise for a number of reasons.

One man had a visitation agreement in place with his ex-wife, to visit his son during two weekdays and alternate weekends. For two years, the mother would hinder his attempts to maintain this arrangement by altering the schedule in a number of ways. The son might suddenly be unavailable to visit or would have to cut the visit short to accommodate some other plan, and the father reached the point where he felt that it was easier to go along with the mother's disruption rather than create an argument. When the father had to relocate to another state for his job, however, the mother filed to have his parenting time restricted to only one weekend a month, which the man fears will result in him losing contact with his son altogether. 

By making the changes at the last minute, the mother avoided any text or email trail that would show her interference in the father's relationship with his son. In addition, by capitulating to the mother's wishes instead of holding her accountable in law, the father may have given her the opportunity to claim that he was disinterested in maintaining contact. All is not lost, however; the father can also offer proposals for visitation schedules. Suggestions could include the use of Skype or FaceTime a couple of times a week, where the father and son can read together or find interactive games in which to engage. During long weekends, the father could arrange to visit his son's home state, and during school vacation time, the son could spend extended periods with his father.

Summer camps can also be attended just as easily in a non-resident parent's home state as in his or her child's. By being creative, New Jersey residents can maintain parenting time over longer distances, which will allow them to maintain their relationships with their children. Once visitation schedules have been formally drawn up, any attempts by the custodial parent to circumvent them can be challenged by seeking the appropriate advice.

Source:, "Parent worries about losing time with son", Wendy Hickey, Aug. 20, 2017

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