During a divorce or custody battle, often the most difficult challenge is determining the parenting time (visitation schedule). This is only amplified if one of the parents lives out-of-state or is planning to move out-of-state. In these cases, there is almost always one primary parent who has the child for the majority of the year and the other parent has parenting time during summer and holiday breaks. The worst case scenario with these out-of-state parenting plans are two loving, caring parents who have been involved in the child’s life because one parent is going to have to take the back seat.
The traditional out-of-state parenting plan is approximately a 30%-70% split, with the out-of-state parent exercising parenting time during summer vacation, half of winter break, spring break, and some long weekends. Not only is this parenting plan difficult as a result of the minimal time for the out-of-state parent, but it is also very difficult on the majority time parent. The majority time parent does not get to spend vacations or summers with the child. Anyway you look at it, one parent is missing out on a significant portion of their child’s life.
Further, this arrangement is often very difficult on the child, especially as the child ages. As children grow up, they want to spend more time with friends, get summer jobs, and engage in summer extracurricular activities. However, with the out-of-state parenting plan, the child feels like he or she is missing out on these opportunities while away for the summer and holiday breaks. This will often result in the child resenting the out-of-state parent, because they are a hindrance to the child’s summer plans.
Out-of-state parenting plans are also very costly. The cost, of course, depends on the overall distance and location. However, in addition to paying support, paying health insurance, extracurricular activities, and everyday living for their child, they now have to add the significant expense of flying or driving for parenting time. Usually, the parents end up sharing these costs. However, on occasion, these expenses have provided justification for a deviation from the child support guidelines.
There are many other considerations parents must explore when preparing their out-of-state parenting plans. The best course of action is to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to assist you in the preparation of an out-of-state parenting plan.
Please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Margulis for all your divorce and family law needs.