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How do you parent from a thousand miles away?

When one parent lives across the country from the other parent, how do you parent from a thousand miles away?  During visits, few and far between, how do you connect with your own child who you grow increasingly distant from and know less and less about?

Of all the family law cases I deal with, those cases dealing with parents separated by distance are the hardest, legally and emotionally.  Mostly the families I see have two great parents.  It might be joint custody or one parent might have sole custody, but regardless, both are great parents.  So it’s all that much heart-wrenching when we have to decide which parent gets the child for the majority of the year and live a plane ride away.  There is no good way to do it.

Legally, there are standards to be met.  The best interest of the child has to be looked at in all cases.  The question has to be asked, “is it in the best interest of the child for him to stay or to go?”  Then depending on whether it’s a sole custody or a joint custody situation, you might also have to ask the question, “why is the parent moving?”  Is there a real advantage to the move?

But these are just legal jargon and standards that don’t fully encapsulate the enormity of the final decision.

These days, because of technology, we routinely set up Skype for parents so that they can hear and see their kids through video chats.  It is definitely a step forward but you still cannot hug your children over the internet.  That’s a shame.