Whether a parent has a non-traditional work schedule or lives out of town, the needs of the child should be a paramount factor in determining custody plans or visitation schedules. Typically, long distance is defined a distance that is 300 miles or more. When a parent has both an unusual work schedule and lives far away, many difficulties may arise. However, it is not an impossible situation.
The key to making an unconventional custody plan work is schedule flexibility. If parents know their schedule weeks or months in advance, they can negotiate a plan that can accommodate everyone. If the court is involved in determining this plan, the benefit of consistency in the child’s life will be heavily weighted, particularly if a parent has too unpredictable a schedule. While the court considers it highly important for a child to have a stable routine, this is not grounds for denying parenting time.
For long distance custody plans, a common visitation plan involves alternating between holidays, splitting summer breaks, and a child spending Mother’s Day or Father’s Day with each parent. Additionally, the age of a child should factor into how often they travel, depending on the distance. It is not reasonable to expect a three year old to go on a plane every other holiday and spend days or weeks apart from his or her custodial parent. Your arrangement should change and evolve as your child grows up and matures.
At Coulter Lambson, we offer compassionate and effective counsel. Our St. Louis County attorneys have years of experience in family courts and a proven record of success, which we will put to work for you. There are different types of custody plans that can affect you and your family and we can help guide you through the different arrangements to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected.
Call us today for a free consultation at (314) 309-2377.