Visitation Concerns for Out-Of-State Parents

Parents who are divorcing have to work through many issues that impact their children. Some of the most important issues are where the children will reside and how visitation will occur. There are additional visitation concerns for out-of-state parents. Parents who live far apart from each other experience a more difficult situation that must be worked out carefully.

Custody Arrangements for Out-Of-State Parents

Custody is now called legal decision-making. Parents usually share this responsibility. However, that may be difficult when one parent lives in another state. If both parents are able to make important decisions for their child, good communication is essential.

Out-Of-State Parenting Time Plans Are Essential

Parents are expected to spend time with their children. This can be more difficult to manage when the parents live in different states. The logistics of how the child will travel to the other parent’s location, and how long he will stay, may depend on a number of factors. The child’s age is certainly a concern, because younger children may not cope well when they are away from their primary care parent. Parenting Time plans need to be developed on a case-by-case basis. Remember that the needs of the child will change over time and a Parenting Plan should be crafted that anticipates some of the more immediate needs while preserving the opportunity to review the plan later.  For example, if a plan is crafted for a 4-year-old child, having a plan that accommodates parenting time both before and after starting kindergarten is helpful.  However, “guessing” too far in advance about what life will be like down the road can be detrimental to crafting a plan that works in the present sense.

Variations on Parenting Time Plans Are Helpful

Parenting takes on a slightly unique form when one parent lives in another state. Parents must be able to consider various visitation options that will allow the parent to spend more time with the child. For example, the custodial parent could plan a visit with the child to the other state, so that the parent can provide daily visitation but still be available to the child.  This may work particularly well for very young children.  The non-custodial parent may also travel to where the child lives in order to spend time with him, at least in combination with the child visiting the non-custodial parent in their state of residence.

Special Considerations and Concerns for Parents

Communication through cell phone, texting, video chatting, and emails can be very helpful for parents who live far away. Travel can be expensive. Both parents must work together to determine how the travel costs will be paid. These expenses will be ongoing for a long period of time. It is best to iron out these issues as part of the divorce or paternity settlement. Otherwise, parents could face challenges in the future.

Resolving parenting issues is part of the divorce and paternity establishment process. Call the experienced legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Visitation Concerns, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.