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Caught In the Middle Part I

One of the most challenging issues for families who are divorcing is dealing with a long-distance move. Co-parenting for “long distance” parents can be taxing for even the most cooperative parents. What happens when one parent remarries, gets a new job, or has to move for financial reasons?

I know this first hand. When I divorced initially both my ex and I resided in Miami. However, when I remarried, I faced with a move to California. Regrettably, we did not use the services of a mediator nor did we have a parenting plan. My son was hurt, confused, and downright scared. To be honest, so was I. Our stable world had changed! I had several anxious moments when my ex refused to return my son to California. The most horrible night was when my eight-year-old son was put on a plan from Miami to California (he had to change flights in Minneapolis and he was snowed in).

The best thing to do is develop a parenting plan, no not just a simple parenting, parenting plan specifically for long distance. This parenting plan will be a part of the healing process for your family.

The first step is to take an inventory.

  • Vulnerability and Loss—What is your child losing? What are you losing? What is your ex losing? What are the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. losing?

  • Vulnerability to Humiliation/Shame—Acknowledgement and projection of blame. Who is humiliated? Is your cultural ideology a factor?

  • Interaction—Shattered family dreams.Was the separation traumatic?If there is ambivalence why is there ambivalence?

  • External Influence—Is their tribal warfare? What is the role of the court (court orders)? What is the role of professionals (attorneys, school officials, and mental health providers)?

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