Just because you and your former spouse no longer live in the same state, much less the same house, it doesn’t nullify the non-custodial parent’s right to see their child, if they so choose. Of course, if moving out of state was done out of concern for the well-being of both child and parent, and the court declared an order of protection, then yes, this would be a preventative measure for denying the non-custodial parent any access to the child. However, when this is not the case, an out of state visitation schedule must be created.

Drawing up a visitation schedule when the parents live in different states is by no means an easy thing to figure out. It is a trial-and-error ordeal, and the schedule must be tested to ensure that it works for all involved. Because of the distance, “perfect schedules” are few and far between.

In order for the custodial parent to move both themselves and the children involved, both spouses must consent to the move. Once that is secured, the parent who is initiating the move must present their case to the court. It must be both compelling and made clear that the move is a necessary one, as the court will always hold the best interests of the child above all else; ipso facto, if you want the court to grant permission to move, plus the visitation schedule, they have to feel that the move is in the best interest of the child. A good example is if the mover is taking a new job out of the state, and that job offers more money. That money goes towards providing for the children, so they would most likely grant the move.

Once the court has granted permission, creating the visitation schedule begins. Frequent visits are uncommon in these situations, as the distance can often make it inconvenient to set it up. A good idea is to work around the child’s life and their calendar, for instance using the child’s school breaks, e.g. summer and winter, to not disrupt their lives and for a less invasive visit.

Of course, technology is a great tool in these situations. Video chat, emails, and phone calls are useful and efficient ways of bridging the gap and making the separated family members feel a little closer to each other which ultimately is better for the child than a completely broken family with little to no communication with one of the parents.