Divorcing Parents Live Far Apart, Raising a Child Together Becomes Complex
Under Maryland divorce and custody laws, parents are strongly encouraged to establish a parenting plan with a visitation schedule that clarifies exactly where a child will spend their time.
Of course, it’s not always as simple as it seems. Sometimes, the long distance involved means parents may need to consider complicated travel arrangements. Other times, the parents disagree about how planned arrangements may unfold. Nevertheless, it is possible to create a long-distance parenting plan that abides by Maryland law and works in the best interests of your children.
The Best Parenting Plans Always Put The Children First
To create a new long-distance parenting plan, start by working with an experienced Maryland divorce/family lawyer. Choose someone who truly cares about children and families – someone who has successfully negotiated agreements between divorcing parents in Maryland, time and time again.
From there, create a document that pinpoints every detail. Be as specific as possible and follow the guidance of your lawyer.
When both adults arrive at a peaceful decision to co-parent their children, they can create a successful visitation plan that is very detailed, takes their children’s desires into consideration, especially if they are older and feel strongly about certain aspects of visitation, is acceptable to both parents and includes the following elements:
A Residential/Living Schedule
This schedule details where your child will spend time on a regular basis and matches the type of custody you have. If there is joint custody, the regular schedule may come close to a 50/50 split. However, this is uncommon in long-distance parenting cases due to the travel time involved, so one parent may have their child for significantly longer amounts of time.
A Holiday Schedule
Holidays are an important part of family life, and you will need to establish which holidays your child will spend with which parent. Some divorced parents alternate years. Others split up the holidays so their child might spend Thanksgiving with one parent and Christmas with the other. Include every major holiday, including birthdays and other special days in your child’s life.
A Vacation Schedule
This is usually based on your child’s school vacation schedule and allots visitation time for each parent during specific vacations. In the case of occasional personal vacations, the schedule usually specifies that a certain amount of advance notice should be given. In general, the rules of the holiday schedule override the vacation schedule, when there is a conflict.
Specify the logistics of how your child will be transported from one parent to another, including exact starting and ending destinations and who will accompany the child during travel. Also, specify who will be paying for the costs of travel and which airline or other company to use.
This is a set of rules that describes what will happen in unexpected and emergency situations. For example, what would happen if one of you becomes so ill, you couldn’t stick to the schedule? What if your child suddenly needs to be picked up at school? Formalize these plans and you will eliminate day-to-day confusion.
Hold a meeting or communicate electronically with the other parent and their lawyer, negotiating until you create a final version of the parenting plan. This is usually an adults-only process without the children present at any meetings.
At the end of this process, you’ll have a workable parenting plan you can all rely upon. We’ve seen plenty of divorced parents come together to accomplish this, and it helps everyone feel more confident and secure as they move forward after the divorce.
Have a Legal Question About Parenting Plans in Maryland? We Have Answers
If you need a good parenting plan for your children after a divorce, the family law attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law are experts at answering all your questions and guiding you through the challenging process of Maryland child visitation. We can help you develop a long-distance parenting plan that supports the best interests of your children. Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our family and divorce lawyers today.