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Child Custody

When parents divorce, a lot can change in their lives. A parent may get a new job, start or go back to school, remarry, and so on. As such, it’s not uncommon for these types of life changes to make a parent want to move away from the area, especially if they are the noncustodial parent. If you are the noncustodial parent, you may be considering a long-distance move yourself.

Perhaps you met someone new in California and want to get remarried. Perhaps you want to attend a college in Florida. Perhaps you’re not from Pennsylvania and you want to move back home to Ohio where you’re entire family lives. Or, maybe you’re looking at an attractive job offer that will pay you $30,000 more a year than you’re making now, but it will require relocation to Seattle.

Should You Stay or Go?

Should you or shouldn’t you move? After all, the kids are living with your ex, so it’s easier for you to make that long-distance move. Here’s the deal: While a move may be very enticing, if it means moving hours away from your children or to another state, you may want to think twice because in many situations, long-distance moves impact a parent’s relationship with their children.

Before you decide to move far away from your kids, consider these concerns first:

  • Even if your kids act like they support your move, there is a good chance they really feel like you’re abandoning them and this can be very hard on kids.
  • Your children may feel your “reasons” for moving are self-serving and don’t put them first. If not now, when they get older.
  • If your ex is bitter about the move, he or she can use the move as ammunition to turn your children against you.
  • Skype and FaceTime are great, but they are no substitute for in-person contact with your children.
  • Can you really afford the gas, hotel rooms, days off work, and airfare to see your children? These types of costs can add up quickly.
  • In many cases, monthly visits turn into bi-monthly visits, then every six months until the parent barely sees their children.
  • Long-distance relationships are hard on couples and they can be just as hard on parents and children.

If you are planning on moving far away from your children, we urge you to put some serious thought and consideration into how such a move would affect your kids. The idea is to have realistic expectations. Of course, only you know your circumstances and your children, so if a move is truly in everyone’s best interests and you can afford to pay for regular visits, all the more power to you.

Next: Beware of Alienating Your Child’s Other Parent

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