If your spouse wants to move your child to a different state after your divorce, then your original child custody plans might not work for you now. If you and your child live on opposite sides of the country, then access visitations are harder to manage. Even if you and your spouse are on good terms and want to work together to create the best custody arrangements for your child, you should see a lawyer at this stage. They can help you arrange acceptable custody arrangements that work for all of you. How can an attorney help?
1. Create a Transportation Plan
Long-distance access visits aren't always easy to arrange. You have to work out how to get your child from their new home to your location. You can't use a simple local pick-up and drop-off schedule. A transportation plan is vital in interstate custody arrangements. It adds all the extra information and rules you and your spouse will use when your child visits you. For example, a plan might outline basic custody arrangements such as periods of access. It will specify how your child will travel and, if they are young, at what age they can travel alone. Your plan will outline each parent's responsibilities before and after visits. It will set out which parent pays travel costs in every possible scenario.
A lawyer's help is essential here. You won't necessarily know what to include in a transportation plan, but they do.
2. Apply For Child Support Travel Credit
If your child doesn't live within driving distance, then you might not be able to pick them up to come and stay with you. They might have to fly or take the train. If your child is young, then their transportation costs increase. You might have to pay extra if your child travels alone. You might have to pay for a chaperone to accompany them on flights. You might have to cover all these costs. This is a significant expense.
However, a lawyer can advise you if you can cover some of your child's travel costs by applying for credit against your child support payments. They can help you collate the information you need to propose a credit arrangement with the court.
3. Suggest Creative Access Solutions
If your child lives in another state, then you won't see them in person as much as you would if they lived locally. You might have to find creative ways to get visitation access between trips. An experienced child custody lawyer can suggest ways to do this. For example, they might outline a weekly schedule of video calls as part of your custody plan.
For more advice, contact a child custody law firm.