Author Topic: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?  (Read 1342 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« on: May 14, 2018, 06:50:06 PM »
I am cordially divorced. The XFP and I have had 50/50 custody of our two boys (ages 7 and almost 6) and that's been great.

Unfortunately, he has announced his intention to move to Florida (from Colorado). The boys will live with me during the school year. Context: We are on friendly terms but there is some tension around this move. I don't think it's a good idea and I feel like he has been nickel and diming me and is trying to claim an excessive amount of vacation time. (He proposed 95 overnights!) Child support guidelines are clear, so I am mostly interested in squishier details like Thanksgiving break.

I am looking for stories from people who have been through this! What schedules did you come up with? Any pitfalls that I should make sure to address in our parenting plan? I plan to talk with a lawyer but let's minimize the # of hours I have to pay for!

Miss Piggy

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 07:05:17 PM »
Wow. I'm not a lawyer or a divorced parent, but damn, this sucks...for you and for the kids. That said, on what planet is it fair for you to have to pay for his choice to move to the opposite end of the country? SMH.

ixtap

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 07:16:01 PM »

I have a friend with quite a bit of distance. He gets a lot of his time in by going back there and taking the kid on mini vacations, rather than the kid always coming here. Amongst other things, this let's him have weekends during the school year. It also means the kid isn't doing all of the exhausting travelling.

In every case I have been privvy to (admittedly not that many) the parent who chose to move away is the one who pays travel expenses.

It seems important to me that you get a reasonable amount of vacation time: you don't want to be just the parent that sends them to school. Other than that, 95 overnights does not seem particularly excessive, certainly less than 50/50.

Do you think the boys would appreciate some one on one time, so that there are some occassions where one is with you and the other with the ex?


La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 07:36:42 PM »
Wow. I'm not a lawyer or a divorced parent, but damn, this sucks...for you and for the kids. That said, on what planet is it fair for you to have to pay for his choice to move to the opposite end of the country? SMH.

Yeah, it does suck. Technically, of course, he is paying me, it's just that I don't think child support is going to cover the real increase in my expenses.


I have a friend with quite a bit of distance. He gets a lot of his time in by going back there and taking the kid on mini vacations, rather than the kid always coming here. Amongst other things, this let's him have weekends during the school year. It also means the kid isn't doing all of the exhausting travelling.

In every case I have been privvy to (admittedly not that many) the parent who chose to move away is the one who pays travel expenses.

It seems important to me that you get a reasonable amount of vacation time: you don't want to be just the parent that sends them to school. Other than that, 95 overnights does not seem particularly excessive, certainly less than 50/50.

Do you think the boys would appreciate some one on one time, so that there are some occassions where one is with you and the other with the ex?



Tanks for responding! The XFP and his wife are teachers, so their school year schedule is limited but they do plan to pop back to CO for the weekend once or twice during the year. But she has kids even younger! Their dad is not a fully functioning adult so he doesn't get a vote about them moving away, I guess, but man... that's gonna be complicated with two sets of kids going two directions, and hers are too young to fly without a grownup. (I think mine can do unaccompanied minor and with them being able to be together, that makes a difference.)

95 overnights is 13 weeks! A school year is 36 weeks. That gives me very limited vacation time with them. Of course it can't be 50/50 with school-age kids. It was his choice to give that up. Sigh.

One on one time doesn't have to be rare since the XFP and I both have new partners :-).

As far as travel expenses, in CO they are considered "extraordinary expenses" and they reduce the amount of child support paid! Doesn't seem fair!

Other examples, Internet friends?

former player

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 06:47:17 AM »
A friend of mine had his wife take his new baby 300 miles away.  He got the majority of the holidays and used to visit for birthdays.  He paid the majority of the travel costs, either by doing the return trip in his car or when the child was a bit older paying for train tickets for mom and child to a half-way point.

I'm afraid it did not end well: when the child became a teenager they wanted to stay at home with their friends in the holidays and contact was dropped.

I think there is probably no way to make this situation seem fair to everyone.  "Workable for now" is probably the best I can offer, so I would suggest that any agreement you come up with is time limited and subject to review after a certain period of time.  And both you and your ex will need to realise that in about 5 years' time your boys will be teenagers and making decisions for themselves about where they spend their time - you can't physically force a reluctant teenager onto a plane in either direction.

frugal rph

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 09:44:39 AM »
My kidsī father moved about 10 hours away with 3 days notice to me and the kids about 3 years ago.  We do not agree on very much, so a judge pretty much set our parenting plan.  I get 3 the first week of summer, a week in July, and the last week of summer.  We split Christmas break (alternating who gets Christmas).  We alternate Spring breaks and Thanksgiving.  He can also come any other time with at least 2 weeks notice to me.  I am not sure how your ex is getting 13 weeks a year unless you are getting almost no time in the summer or holidays.  I do not think that is fair to you or the kids.  Of course he may move away and then not exercise much of his time but you cannot make a plan that counts on that.

So fay my ex has paid for most of the travel but he has been out of work for over a year and is asking the judge to make me pay 80% of travel expenses.  I do not think that will happen, but my lawyer says that since time sharing is for the benefit of the kids, I should be prepared to be ordered to split it with him.  That will be a huge problem for me as my work schedule is pretty inflexible around the holidays.

I think you should fight to get at least some time off from school.  My ex tried to get me to pay for his travel expenses and his lodging, food, etc while he is in town visiting the kids.  My understanding is you only consider the tranportation cost for the kids, not anything else.

Iīm sorry this is happening.  I hope it goes well.  The good part has been not having to see my ex as much since we do not get along.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 10:12:46 AM »
I honestly don't understand parents who can move that far away from their kids. My ex seriously considered moving across the country last year but decided to stay.

My state has a standard schedule for parents who live more than 100 miles away.  Does Colorado?

You'll probably also want to write in something about the number of times a week he can Skype or Facetime with the kids - if he decides to be unreasonable he could try to call all the time during dinner or school activities and blame you.  I know of at least one family with kids that age where the children did not forgive their father for moving away and refused to answer his calls or try to have a relationship.  The dad gave up.

I'd also look into getting counseling for both boys.  They will feel abandoned, no matter what reasoning dad gives them.

mrsmeganmustache

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 10:24:31 AM »
I was a child of divorced parents who lived across the country from one another from a very young age. I spent most of the summer and at least every other Christmas with my dad. I don't know the specifics of their arrangement, but a few random tidbits about my experience that likely will not be useful for you :) :
- I have a closer relationship with the parent I grew up further away from, but I doubt it had to do with the distance. But it may have contributed. It made our time together seem more special.
- I had SO MUCH fun in the summer with my dad and was very sad and cried a lot for several days when I returned to my mom (I think this lasted for many years). Must have been very hard for my poor mom. It did seem like Dad got all the fun and mom had to do the grunt work. (although I did have a lot of fun in the summer, I also remember being bored a lot because I didn't really have friends at my summer location)
- I turned out to be a good successful human with great relationships with both my parents (and step-parents). No resentment about growing up away from them. My mom made the decision to move away from my dad, but it made sense because all her family and roots were in the area she moved back to. In fact, growing up bi-coastal probably shaped me in some very positive ways because I got to see up close two very different cultures and places and styles of living.
-I don't think we ever did one-on-one time with my mom or dad. (it was me and my sibling in this situation, which probably helped)
- I bet my mom mostly enjoyed her summers with us gone, though I don't recall her talking about it. Now I might have to ask her what she did with all her free time...

robartsd

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 10:58:00 AM »
Yeah, it does suck. Technically, of course, he is paying me, it's just that I don't think child support is going to cover the real increase in my expenses.

As far as travel expenses, in CO they are considered "extraordinary expenses" and they reduce the amount of child support paid! Doesn't seem fair!
Yes this doesn't seem fair. You would be providing for your children's basic needs for 74% of the year (instead of the current 50%) and he would deduct additional travel costs from support. Meanwhile you'd only have 2-3 weeks that your children are not in school to spend with your children.

On the other hand, 95 nights is approximately 50% of the non-school days each year, so after considering all the missed weekends during the school year it is not terribly unreasonable for XFP to ask for them. For visitation, I would counter with a request that in addition to when school is in session the children are with you 1) the week before school starts, 2) an additional two consecutive weeks each summer, and 3) alternate between Christmas break and Thanksgiving + Spring Break each school year.

As far as financial impact, you should probably consult a lawyer who is familiar with this area of law.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 01:18:24 PM »
I am waiting for a call back from a lawyer I consulted in the past.

@former player -- that's dreadful. I see a parenting failure there (although obviously I don't know the circumstances). No, you can't force the kids onto a plane, but you can (if absolutely necessary, if negotiating and nudging doesn't work) tell them that if they do not get on the plane, you are changing the wifi password, cancelling their texting plan, and not driving them anywhere. I imagine they will want input as they get older, but "just not going" is not one of the choices I will be enabling.

@formerlydivorcedmom -- The most charitable explanation I can come up with is that the XFP is bad at guessing how he will feel in the future and doesn't realize how much this is going to hurt. I don't believe there is a set schedule. Good tip about Skype.

@frugal rph -- I'm sorry, that sounds like a terrible situation. Sounds like I have to share travel expenses from the beginning, that's just how Colorado has it set up. Blech.

@robartsd -- If I had the extra time in the summer, I think it would drop him below 95. Aaaand he doesn't want to go under 92 because then child support goes up. He's a real prince, that one. He cares less about actually getting the whole summer and more about not having to pay more. Sigh.

@mrsmeganmustache -- Thank you for sharing your story! It's helpful to hear. I wonder if my kids WILL resent their dad, who has no super-compelling reason to move. (He gets cold in the winter and can't teach in his preferred field here in Denver, he would have to take a less-prime job teaching something else.)

Things could be much worse. I will make this work and I will avoid saying anything resentful in the presence of my children, who can draw their own conclusions.

More stories/examples are welcome!

robartsd

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Re: Long-distance coparenting: Anyone BTDT?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 02:00:50 PM »
I wonder if my kids WILL resent their dad, who has no super-compelling reason to move. (He gets cold in the winter and can't teach in his preferred field here in Denver, he would have to take a less-prime job teaching something else.)
While not super-compelling, I can understand wanting to move fore a more appealing climate and more desirable career. I wouldn't characterize his desire to move as negative towards you or the children.

How much difference in child support is dropping below 92 days / year? It seems that if this went in front of a judge there's a decent chance the judge would see your view about spending vacation time with your children and see through any attempts by him to set the terms primarily for financial reasons.