Navigating Long Distance Co-Parenting And Custody Arrangements


Navigating Long Distance Co-Parenting And Custody Arrangements

Long-distance co-parenting and custody in Austin, Texas, may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to share parenting responsibility and rights when a child’s parents live far from one another.

Attempt to address these issues early in the divorce process. Ensuring everyone is on the same page from the start will help guard against future complications.

Communication Tips for Long Distance Co Parenting

Establishing and abiding by a parenting arrangement when two parents live far apart requires effective communication. Tips for communicating fairly and civilly when discussing such matters with an ex-spouse include:

  • Remain calm and friendly – Make a conscious point of being civil, polite, and appreciative when talking with your ex. Distance co-parenting isn’t easy for anyone. Acknowledge your ex’s contributions to help make co-parenting work, and strive to show you understand their perspective.
  • Know what you wish to discuss beforehand – Sticking to the facts when discussing long-distance co-parenting is ideal. This isn’t the time to have other conversations about your past relationship. You may find it easier to focus on relevant topics when you prepare a list before your conversation. Topics to discuss may include a long-distance visitation schedule, long-distance custody arrangements, etc. You may have already finalized custody arrangements in court. However, you might still need to have discussions regarding how you’ll stick to these arrangements.
  • Ensure everyone’s needs are heard – Being a distance parent requires adjusting your schedule to ensure you play a role in your child’s life. Doing so may be easier when their other parent understands your position. Listen when your ex tells you what they need to make this arrangement work. Clearly explain whether you’ll be able to do what they request. In addition, make sure they understand your needs.


Making thorough long-distance co-parenting and custody plans before finalizing your divorce can also minimize the need for future conversations. Addressing issues like parenting time and day-to-day responsibilities early makes the process easier later.

Relocation with Children in Texas After a Divorce: What You Need to Know

Texas doesn’t have a law specifically addressing the topic of relocating with children after a divorce. However, the Texas Family Code clearly states that the court’s priority is the child’s best interests when such matters arise.

A parent must request the court’s approval before moving with their child if they share custody. The court will consider the reason for the relocation and how it will affect the child when deciding whether to grant the order. The court may also account for the wishes of older children. A child over 12 may be mature enough to state whether they want to relocate with a parent.

Even if you’re a custodial parent, don’t move with your children until you know you have a right to do so. Contact a lawyer if your ex moves without notifying you. You may be able to take legal action accordingly.

Child Custody When Parents Live in Different Countries: What You Need to Know

a close-up of a family facing a gavel on the tableAddressing child custody early in the divorce process is essential when you’re divorcing a spouse who lives in another country or plans to. The following are key reasons why:

  • International custody laws are complex – Addressing the matter after the divorce may require navigating another country’s custody laws. This can be a challenging process. Avoid it by thoroughly determining how you will manage long-distance co-parenting before finalizing your divorce.
  • International long-distance co-parenting plans are complicated – Long-distance co-parenting is complex by nature. Addressing matters like travel arrangements is even more complicated when the parents reside in different countries. The more time you have to make plans, the better.
  • A court order may be necessary – You might be unable to reach a co-parenting agreement when the parent plans to live in another country. The court may have to decide on co-parenting and custody in these circumstances. You can exercise more control over the arrangements if you attempt to address them yourself.


Always consult with an attorney when making an international co-parenting plan. A lawyer can help you prepare for such an arrangement’s complications and help you argue your case in court.

Travel Expenses for Long Distance Parenting

Some aspects of a long-distance parenting plan may require a distant parent to stay in contact through technology. It might not always be possible for parents and children to see each other in person.

As children age, sticking to a visitation schedule may also be difficult. Older children may want to modify the schedule so they don’t have to travel as often to see a parent. A scheduled phone call or video chat may take the place of an actual visit on some occasions.

That said, phone calls may not be sufficient to maintain a long-distance relationship with a child. A parent with visitation rights still must see their children. They may have questions regarding who pays for travel expenses in this situation.

There are no universal answers to these questions. Who pays for travel is something to address when creating a co-parenting plan.

Options to consider include the following:

  • Each parent splits travel costs equally
  • Each parent pays for the cost of travel to their home
  • The parent mainly responsible for escorting a child to extracurricular activities doesn’t have to cover travel costs


Take the time to accurately determine how much travel may be required to stick to an agreed-upon visitation schedule. When deciding who covers travel costs, you should have a good sense of what those costs will be.

Contact an Austin, Texas, Family Law Attorney

Navigating matters like long distance co parenting is easier when you hire a qualified attorney to handle your divorce. Someone familiar with the relevant Texas family laws can answer your questions about this subject.

At Smith Family Law, an Austin child custody attorney can help you develop a strong co-parenting plan. Our goal is to protect your rights and the rights of your child. Learn more about how our team can help by contacting us online or at (512) 277-3166 for a free consultation.

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Written by: Smith Family Law

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