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)?