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Long-Distance Parenting After Your Divorce

Published August 19, 2020
Once your divorce is finalized, circumstances may require you to move away from your ex and your child. As a long-distance parent, it’s important to keep in touch with your child, enjoy the occasional visits you have, and express your love and support in multiple ways.

As you move through the divorce process as a parent, you are likely wondering how your post-divorce life will impact the relationship you have with your child. For those divorced parents who remain in the same city, learning how to successfully co-parent and foster independent relationships with your child can be challenging. However, if you find yourself having to move farther away—perhaps to another state—because of a new employment opportunity or second marriage, you will likely feel anxious about how you can continue to nurture your relationship with your child from far away. Let’s examine some ways that you and your child can connect in meaningful ways, even if you live many miles away from each other.

Schedule Regular Phone, Facetime, or Skype Calls

While you and your child should certainly reach out to each other at any time, it’s helpful to schedule a regular day and time to connect with one another. For instance, make it a habit to call or Skype on Sunday evenings, so you have a pre-arranged time to talk to each other. Simply hearing each other’s voices and seeing each other’s faces will help you stay present in each other’s lives on a regular basis. You may even find yourselves saving up funny stories to tell each other during this scheduled call. Of course, texting and emailing each other is a great way to keep in contact as well, but words on a screen are not as meaningful as hearing voices and seeing faces. Make sure you give yourselves plenty of ways to connect.

Invite Your Child to Visit You During School Holidays or Weekends

Let your child see where you live and explore the sights and sounds of your new city. When your child is able to visit you, make sure you take advantage of this special time. Clear your weekend schedule so that you can be present for your child, and plan exciting outings, like to the zoo or a waterpark, to enjoy your time together. The more that your child can visualize your new environment, the closer they will feel to you, even while you are apart. Additionally, giving yourself these large chunks of time together will help you to have more meaningful conversations with your child, perhaps about topics that are difficult to broach over the phone. It’s also a great idea to plan a visit to your child’s city once in a while so that you can get a better picture of what their daily life is like and you can meet their friends or watch your child play soccer or perform in a school play.

Don’t Allow Guilt to Follow You Around

It’s completely natural for the parent who moves farther away to experience feelings of guilt over “abandoning” their child. Remember, guilt is not a productive emotion, and you need to give yourself the space you need as you adjust to your post-divorce life. Remember, it’s essential that you feel secure as a person before you can realistically provide support and stability for your child. If you are plagued by guilt and anxiety all the time, it will be nearly impossible for you to enjoy time with your child, or to be fully present as a parent. Instead, focus on the quality of the time you are able to spend with your child, and recognize that you made this move because you needed to build a more stable life for yourself, as an individual, and as a parent. It’s critical to understand that, as your child grows up, they will not remember the amount of time you spent with them, but they will remember how much you were emotionally available (even via text or phone) and how loved you made them feel.

 

For more information about divorce or family law matters in the Portland or Vancouver area, contact the dedicated and compassionate legal team at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C today by calling (503) 233-8868.

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