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Successful long-distance parenting after divorce is a team effort

If you're the custodial parent of your children and your ex lives some distance away, he or she has to work to maintain a bond with the kids. These days, parents can stay in daily contact with their kids from across the country or the other side of the world via video chatting, email, texting and social media. However, it's essential for the long-distance parent to be consistent in that communication.

Maintaining the parent-child bond when one parent lives far away is a team effort. The custodial parent needs to support the long-distance parent. This means ensuring that your kids are available to video chat or talk with their parent at the scheduled times. You should also encourage your kids to feel free to contact their other parent whenever they want to.

Keeping your co-parent apprised of your kids' activities is essential. Unless your co-parent doesn't want to or isn't legally allowed to be involved in decisions regarding education, medical care, religious activities and other aspects of your children's daily lives, help him or her stay informed.

If your kids are very young or aren't good at filling your co-parent in on what's going on in their lives, that responsibility falls to you. If communication between the two of you is still strained, you may want to use a co-parenting app where you can put information like medical reports, report cards and team schedules in a central location.

When it's time for your kids to visit their long-distance parent, whether for a few days or an entire summer, make plans with your co-parent ahead of time. Your kids shouldn't have to worry that their parents will be scrambling to work out the details or arguing about them at the last minute. It's helpful if these arrangements are detailed in your parenting plan.

Parenting plans can make all divorced parents' lives easier, but they're especially key when one parent lives far away. They can help ensure that long-distance parents stay involved in their kids' lives and provide requirements that the custodial parent must follow, regardless of how he or she feels about his or her ex. Remember that it's in the kids' best interests to have a close relationship with a loving parent, no matter how far away that parent is.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "5 Key Considerations for Long-Distance Parent-Child Relationships," accessed May 15, 2018

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