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What Long Distance Parenting Is and Is Not

There are many misconceptions about what long distance parenting is and is not. Some of the stigma around long distance parenting comes from these misconceptions. Although there is a ton of information on the site about long distance parenting, I realized it might be good to back up and talk about what a long distance parent is (or is not).

What is Long Distance Parenting?

Long distance parenting is the skillset and process of actively parenting a child when there is distance between the parent and the child. A long distance parent is any parent who is not living in the same physical area as their child.  It’s not a single scenario but a variety of situations that could cause a parent to be at a distance from their child(ren) and a number of ways that the situations evolve.

What a Long Distance Parent Is

I have had the pleasure of being involved in long distance parenting community for over 15 years, and of course, have been a long distance parent myself. The parents I interact with in the long distance parenting communities all have unique stories. Some have very cooperative co-parenting situations and some have much less cooperative or even hostile co-parenting situations. Some are legally divorced or separated, some are not – or have never been married. Some are separated by cities or states – some are separated from their children by oceans and countries.

There is no cookie cutter ‘long distance parenting’ relationship. But the thing they have in common is that they all look for ways to bridge the distance between parent and child despite, what can often be, difficult circumstances.

Custodial Parent Move-Away

If a custodial parent moves away, it is hopefully with the blessing of the court – and courts don’t generally make the decision to allow a move away by the custodial parent very lightly.

Of course it also happens that custodial parents relocate out of spite or some other reason that is less than critical, away from the noncustodial parent. Although it wasn’t always the case, current laws go a great distance to protect parents and children from what amounts to parental kidnapping.

Non Custodial Parent Move-Away

This is probably the scenario that comes to mind for most people. The non-custodial parent moves away, becoming a long distance parent. The question I hear most from people who don’t understand this scenario is ‘What could be so important to move away from your kids?’.

I’ve never encountered a situation in which the long distance parent told me “I want to be away from my children, so I’m going to move.” Usually very basic life needs are at issue – like job, family, healing, recovery and rehabilitation or the desire to succeed past what is available in a given area. Long distance parents who relocate away from their children usually have a pressing need to improve their life in some way, with the end desire of making something better for their kids.

Military and Job related Traveling

Military members are required to be away from home for months and years at a time. Luckily, the military and the surrounding communities provide resources and support for military families separated by distance but individual families often have to find techniques that work for them and the individual circumstances of the deployed military member to keep contact between the kids and their long distance mom or dad strong. In fact, here is a great page on military.org on the subject.

Some non-military jobs require travelling and working abroad. While a particular job is ultimately optional, sometimes the alternatives to doing the job, staying with the company or travelling on the business trip are grim. Or sometimes the rewards of doing the work are good enough to make it an attractive option.

Even if they aren’t legally divorced or separated, military parents and parents who work away from home are still long distance parents and still have the same fundamental issue which is how to maintain a relationship with their child while they are apart.

What a Long Distance Parent Is Not

Every time a long distance parent explains their situation anew to a coworker, friend or family member, they brace for the assumptions that follow. Those assumptions are generally abandonment and being a dead beat mom or dad.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but if we’re using the definition that a long distance parent is someone who is separate from their child by distance but looks for ways to maintain a relationship and bridge the distance between themselves and their child, long distance parents are not to following things.

Long Distance Parents did not Abandon Their Kid(s)

Legally, abandonment, within the scope of child abandonment, means relinquishing one’s rights to the child with no intent of resuming or reasserting those rights. Long distance parents – parents who would use this site or look for ways to keep the relationship with their kids strong, are not abandoning their children legally.

Emotional abandonment, psychologically, is when a partner in a relationship (a parent, a lover, a spouse or otherwise) does not participate in safeguarding one’s emotional needs of being valued, nurtured and loved. To the contrary, most long distance parents have made very difficult decisions to do what’s best in the long run for their kids (or their country, in the case of military members) and go to great lengths to make sure that their kids know that they are valued and loved. Although kids are not necessarily capable of understanding the big picture when they are little, part of the long distance parenting skillset is continuing to communicate with their kids about being apart from one another, in a way that the child can understand, as often as necessary.

Long Distance Parents are not Dead Beat Parents

There is no official definition of a dead beat dad or a dead beat mom – but in our culture, a dead beat parent is generally understood to be a parent who might exercise their parental rights to some degree but does not participate in supporting or raising their children.

Although, again, dead beat moms and dads do exist, lumping long distance parents – parents who are at a distance from their children and who support and maintain positive relationships with their children – in with parents who do not support or maintain positive relationships with their kid(s) is also mistaken.

Child abandonment does happen and dead beat parents do exist. But throwing the long distance parenting baby out with the abandonment and dead beat parent bathwater is in error. Many long distance parents go great lengths to stay involved in their child’s life and to make sure that their children don’t feel emotionally abandoned.

Parenting is hard and it’s full of tough decisions from birth and even past the time that the kid(s) are adults. The decision to be at a distance from a child is a valid or even necessary option sometimes and is one of the single toughest decisions to make. Long distance parents are not deadbeats or abandoning their kids. In fact, the decision to be apart from a child is just the first step of the tough road that they navigate to maintain a loving relationship with the child.

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nicole
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nicole

Woh thanx a lot for articles like long distance parenting. It shows l, m not alone. As a mother it hurts me to go for mnths n mnths wout my daughter becoz of economical reasons. I cant be w her.

Nina
Guest
Nina

Exactly how I feel!

Julz
Guest

It’s interesting to read these reply’s. It’s almost all women and the men make more money as a common thread. But we have had to become transient in today’s society in order to work and survive. It’s just the reality of today’s economy and it sucks big time. I think if women were making the bigger salaries where they reside things would be different. Divorce is never easy and removing yourself from unhealthy situations is healthy behavior and better for everyone all around. My boyfriend is the exception in my experience, his ex because of acoholism and two DWI’s is… Read more »

Ron Haupt
Guest
Ron Haupt

I am currently finishing up on my divorce. My STBXW is a serial cheater and I finally realized I deserve better. We have 4 kids together ranging from 7 to 20. I have always been the primary caretaker for our kids and the one that took care of everything in and around the house. I literally did everything. She would work from 8 am to 2 am everyday. So it was always just the kids and me. I busted her and her cheating ass for the 3rd time I know of. Immediately after that she said she needed space and… Read more »

NewDad
Guest
NewDad

thank ypu for the interesting perspective. I am currently in emotional turmoil because of a lose-lose choice i need to make. Option 1 is to be someplace where i am able to support my ageing newly widower father, has better economic opportunities, and where i am generally. But i would be forced to become a distant parent as my partner refuses to relocate, even for a short while (approx 2 years) while she is on matetnity leave. Option 2 it is remain in my current situation in a location that is not good for my mentail health, and with only… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

I’m in a sticky situation to where I have no choice but to leave state, I am not even sure what my rights are. My son father is barely around but does pay childsupport (not through the court) because he does not want to be in the system..yet things have been difficult ever since I dropped majority of my night shifts for my son to do better in school which it worked, he has a learning disability and needs the extra care. Being I do not go through the courts I do not get much of things “state help” as… Read more »

Megan
Member
Megan

I have been searching for a site like this for a while. I am extremely relieved that I found one! I am currently battling with becoming a distant parent and have been looking for support and advice. Thank you Carrie for this site! I currently wish to move away from my child and her father. I am also from a small town and would be looking at moving approximately 9 hours away from my child. I discussed this with her father and he is supportive in some ways but also does not want me taking her away from him. We… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

Hello! I, too, am so happy to have discovered this website! I have lived in a different state from my two boys now for almost 4 years! And I have wanted something like this to know I am not alone. I moved for similar reasons– I was not able to provide for them very well where I was and my being happy would be better for all of us. I am now able to give them more of the life I want for them with the aid of my husband. I have always had a relatively amicable relationship with the… Read more »

nicole.b
Member
nicole.b

I am just starting the difficult process of long distance parenting. My ex husband and I had a 50/50 arrangement which has been less than productive the past 2 years. I am at a major disadvantage in regards to providing for my 2 children, as my ex makes literally 3 times my income. I had initially waived support to just get out of the relationship not taking into account that 50% of the time I am paying for 100% of my children’s expenses. When looking at things in income perspective I never took into account the impact the every dollar… Read more »

Josie
Guest

Hey Nicole I am dealing with the same problem. I left my 3 year old son to his father, thinking it would be a better life. After I had left my ex I had become finacially unstable. Forceing me countless of reasons to move back home. It’s very emotionally hard for me as a mother who wanted to take my son home with me. I’m 800 miles away from my boy. And 4 days out of the week I try to skype him. His father is somewhat cooperative but then again wanted me to have nothing to do with my… Read more »

Brittany
Guest
Brittany

I have a very similar story! Good to feel like I’m not alone. I hate that I feel judged as a bad mother for moving bask to my home state for a better job and leaving my son 5.5 hours away and not having a cooperative other parent makes it so much harder. I wish I had found this site sooner! I hope we can all feel encouragement!

Ady
Guest
Ady

I was a stay a home dad supporting my now to be ex wife while she studied i looked after our son for about a year and things got out of hand now between us. So i flew half way across the world and im alittle worried that the thought of my son not knowing his dad. Im very unstable and all over the place. Need some advice

Claire
Guest
Claire

I have a 3yr old living 5 hrs from me but I have 5 children living within half hour 2 of which I see .i have no idea where I should be the other 3 I don’t see are in foster care as I wasn’t well

Trace
Guest
Trace

I recently moved over 16 hours away from my kids. I have 3 little girls back home and I hurt so much leaving them, I left last week and this is not easy, I’m constantly getting texts on how aweful I am and how I’m never going to see my kids again. But the people saying this have no idea what life was life for me, never having a proper home, couldn’t get a job, struggling with mental illnesses the works. I left to get away from the traumatic events that happened to me and to make better money to… Read more »

Neicy
Guest
Neicy

Hi. I’m 26. I have a 3 year old son. I’m moving 12 hours away from my son. Leaving him will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Better job opportunity. Better pay. I wanted my son to come with me but his Dad refused. His Dad was my HS sweetheart but we are no longer together and both are in relationships. We still remain friends. I refuse to go through a legal battle with my ex. I don’t have the money nor want to. I’m just glad they’re are a lot of Mothers in the same boat as I… Read more »

Scott Hutchins
Guest
Scott Hutchins

Hi I have a 13 year old daughter and when she was 3 I gained custody of her. I allowed her to go and stay with my parents in an other state, When my daughter wants something I send it whatever it is I allowed my parents to add her on their taxes because she’s there and when I do my taxes I pay out instead of receiving, When ever my parents wants money from me I send it as a long distance parent, Do this make me a bad parent, mind you I live in Ohio and they stay… Read more »

Denise
Guest
Denise

Same here. My kids have been with their dad for 9 years now and things are so hard. Two are now teenagers who are fully brainwashed by his lies about me. It’s hurtful, but I just pray one day God will open their eyes to see the truth. It’s such a sad situation

Rayann
Guest
Rayann

I just went through a long and extremely stressful situation with my ex and the courts(5/14/19). I spent all my savings, time and emotions, trying to convince the courts to allow me to move w/my 2 girls from MO. to TX. of course I was denied that. So now I have to move or stay. If I stay I won’t have a place to live or a job, if I move I have a job that pays 30k more then I have ever made and a home but not my 5 and 7 yr old daughters. My ex is the… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

My ex moved my daughter away from me and now I only get to see her every other weekend! It’s been really hard for me not to hate my ex and his wife. I feel like she gets to raise my daughter and that should be my job. I want to scream all the time. I wish bad things on my ex and his wife for trying to replace me. I don’t want to feel this way but it so hard. I feel like my ex has sabotaged my relationship with her just to get back at me for leaving… Read more »

Sheila
Member
Sheila

Im in a similar situation. My son lives with my ex and his new wife 1200 miles away. I wasnt able to provide a stable life for him at the time and agreed to the move, not knowing that it would be nearly impossible to get him back. I hate my ex for moving so far away. I wish terrible things on him. I want him to hurt the way I am hurting. I see my son twice a year. My ex refuses to agree to more than that. I was the primary caregiver for 8 years of our son’s… Read more »

unknown
Guest
unknown

Wow, I have waited 9 months for this site. What a relief to finally find it!! I too am wanting to move 8.5 hours away from son. The plan is he stays with his dad for school since NC is his home state and I take on breaks and summer. I plan on purchasing a cell phone and texting, calling, skyping daily. Even send cards and gift cards to favorite restaurants or shops. I’m just scared the father wont cooperate and my family that has hardly anything to do with me , i have to endure the negativity of their… Read more »

Brittany
Guest
Brittany

Wow! I feel like we have so much in common! I am glad I found this site! Almost in tears right now!

jackie
Member
jackie

i feel the same

Krys
Member
Krys

Heather, I know your post was from a few years ago, but it’s 2:00am and I have cried until I can’t cry anymore. Sleep is out of the question. Your story is almost identical to mine. I moved away 8 years ago, 4 hours away. I have 3 boys, ages 23, 17, and 16. They all live with my ex husband, who never remarried. I have done what you do, as far as traveling and seeing them regularly. They come here regularly. The problem I am having and have had since I have been here is the lack of fulfillment.… Read more »

HEATHER A OELKER
Guest
HEATHER A OELKER

Hi Krys, I definitely understand where you are coming from. As my children get older, it has been 6 almost 7 years that we have been living apart, it in some ways has gotten easier and in other ways has gotten harder. I totally understand what you mean about the feeling of wholeness and completeness when you are all together! My world feels right and then when we are apart again there is a subtle (and at times not so subtle) overwhelming feeling of not being whole. It is hard to take. To know we are living life this way… Read more »

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

I know exactly what you are saying and feeling. I cry everyday, because I miss my son. I Need my son. I have the house I always dreamed of , in texas, I couldn’t live like this in nj, but I moved here a year ago thinking it was going to be better, for me and eventually my son. But I hurt so deep longing for him. He is 15, and he misses me. I see him every 10 weeks, but it’s not enough. I do not know how to get back. My new husband was reason we left, his… Read more »

HS
Guest
HS

Here it’s a quarter to 4 in the morning and reading this with tears steadily streaming down my face I’m strangely comforted by the reality of others who share in this same pain. A flat out nightmare that I can’t wake up from. Discouraged and broken.

Franco
Guest
Franco

Good morning Megan. I noticed you wrote this comments two years ago, I hope you read this so you can give me advice. How has it been for you for the past couple of years? I am in a very similar situation. I feel I need to go back home but that would involve leaving my child behind. I love him more that anything and I am really struggling with my current situation. The expression between a rock and a hard place would a euphemism in this situation… I don’t know what to do and I need help, if I… Read more »

lucy
Member
lucy

oh I feel for you as I am about to do exactly the same thing as you for exactly the same reasons. But I will move from Germany to Australia to a dream job that will give stability myself and my son. My ex will not let me take my son with me even though he has a lot more flexibility and money so If I want to do this I must go now or the job offer is gone. Have you already left? How is it? Can you tell me what works and how your daughter is coping. I… Read more »

Viv
Guest
Viv

Hello, I am in the same situation as you. I am divorced and unemployed for more than 5 years as I was raising my daughter myself and decided to relocate to another country in order to find a job and provide a better future to my 7 year old daughter. Is really hard that to me as is going to miss her so much but I know that this is the right thing I have to do. In the moment I am bringing her up with the money of my ex husband he needs to pay according to the law… Read more »

Meredith Rivers
Member
Meredith Rivers

I’m in the same boat and have been looking for support too. I am thinking of moving away from my daughter’s dad and his family because after eight years separated, there is still chronic tension between he and I. We’ve seen a co-parenting counselor for eight years (she’s eight) and I met with her individually to ask her advice. It’s as if he thrives on conflict with me and between he and my other ex, my son’s dad, I felt like I was constantly pigeon-holed between them. Once mortal enemies, they “unified” against me this year. Anyway, it was the… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Stumbling over this site is really refreshing to me. This tells me my situation is not hopeless as i am not alone. I have all my kids and their mum continents away from where i am and i only talk to them via skype and phone calls and regularly chat with my wife. but it is not the same as being with them. I hope to get more tips on how i can continually make possitive influence in the lives of my kids. – Michael

nicole
Guest
nicole

Megan u are not alone. U, ve made the right decision. Thats what l did exactly five years ago when l left my daughter with her father cz l knw with him she can get all the support she needs. At first its not easy. But eventually u, l get used. I speak with her daily on the fone. Bt nw finally l, ve settled l, m taking her in dec. Bt for the past 5 yrs l used to visit her twice every year since we live in diff countries. Build yr life 1st n later take her.

lucy
Member
lucy

this makes me cry with hope. thank you for writing this reply.

Maria Fernandez
Member
Maria Fernandez

Hi Nicole,

How was it when you visited your daughter? Was she happy every time? How was she over the phone when you spoke to her every day?

Thank you!

dd
Member
dd

Hello.
This is a great site and this article is so helpful.
I am soon to become a long-distance parent. I am the non-custodial who is moving to a state that is far away. I am looking for advice on how and when to tell my kids who are soon to be 10 and 12 years old. My relationship with their father is strained. I will have lots of challenges because of this.
thanks in advance

Chris
Guest

“Some are separated by cities or states some are separated from their children by oceans and countries.” – Wow, that’s the first time I have ever seen in print a summary of my situation. I am separated from my son by an ocean, a culture, a language, and eight time zones. I also closely related to the paragraph on why a non-custodial parent might choose to relocate. I have very much struggled emotionally with the loss of my son, due to my move. It was not my choice. Every situation is unique. Becoming a nearly irrelevant long distance parents… Read more »

mark
Guest
mark

woke up at2:30 it’s 4am can’t sleep. I will lose my 6 and 7 year old in7 weeks they will be moving 8000 miles away.
i’m a mess i cant believe she is thinking it is ok to do this to the kids. i would love to talk to someone on how to be relevant at this distance.

Carrie
Guest

Hi Mark and welcome to the site. I hope you were able to find some advise on staying relevant here. There is also a private group for long distance parents on facebook here : https://www.facebook.com/groups/451160188251072/ . The group is really supportive and helpful and there is conversation there all the time on how we stay in our kids lives. I hope you will join us!

Krista
Guest
Krista

Mark….did you give permission for her to move your children away? DON’T SIGN ANYTHING allowing it if you are not 100% sure it is best for your kids!! Once you sign, there is no turning back, but there will be years of fighting to see your kids. Believe me. If you want to see your kids grown up, DON’T ALLOW THEM TO GO.

Carrie
Guest

Hi Chris, I hope that, if you have not, you will join us on the facebook group! It’s a really great community of ld parents, including some in your situation. 🙂

Chris
Guest

Thank you Carrie. There is certainly a lot of material here to go through, but I have visited the Facebook page and will participate as I can. It’s good to know there is an active community here! I’d like to talk to some people who have the international component, as things become quite complicated this way. Cheers-

John
Guest
John

Chris, Maybe my story will help. My wife and I decided to move from Maryland to British Columbia to improve our quality of life, give our teenaged son a healthier environment, and get me off the road in a great new job. Six months later, my wife announced she wanted a divorce and to return to Maryland with our son. I had committed to a 5-year contract, and had quit my job back East. After much soul-searching, I decided not to start a war in the courts and allowed him to return with her. I saw that he would have… Read more »

Mario
Guest
Mario

Hello John, I hope my situation works out like yours. I’m staying in California and ex is moving to Kansas with our daughter. We already have a agreement written up. We are amicable as possible just have to wait until divorce is final. After you agreed to let your son move, did you have doubts about what you agreed to? If so, what helped you have reassurance you were doing the right thing? I’m having a hard time with the idea of not having my daughter around, even though I know this the best thing for her. Any feedback would… Read more »

Kay
Guest
Kay

I find myself having to move 200 miles from my 11 year old son for work. I am moving from a rural area with extremely limited job opportunity for a professional. My ex (divorced 6 years) says that he will fight if I try to move our son. Attorney says that there is little chance judge will approve for my son to move.

Carrie
Guest

Hi Kay and welcome to the site. That is a common story. I hope that you’ve found some helpful information here – and if you have a mind to, please join us on the facebook group!

erinmargaret
Member
erinmargaret

Hello I am about to become a ld parent and I am having a difficult time with everything. I relate to many of the above stories. I too see that my move will, in the long run, be better for all. My siblings do not support me at all, they see my decision to move (800 miles away) as a selfish move. All about me with no regard for my children. I’m told I’m making the worst decision of my life, one that I’ll regret as long as I live. Those are some pretty harsh statements. I love my three… Read more »

Erin
Guest
Erin

Erin,

I realize you wrote this over a year ago, but I just discovered this site today and in reading this comment, it was like reading about my own life. Even more of a coincidence, my name is also Erin. 🙂

Curious as to how things have progressed for you?

Thanks,

Erin

Adam
Guest
Adam

I have been looking at all of these sites for months now. I divorced 4 years ago and immediately upon our seperation she took the kids to the town in which she grew up yo be close to family. Shortly there after, I found myself at a long distance as I moved 500 miles away. I spent a little over a year in that scenario with a new born and a 3year old. I made regular attempts to communicate regularly and I flew to see them every month. I also sent my support money on time and always. Then I… Read more »

Mario
Guest
Mario

Adam I write you because I’m going to dealing with a scenario similar to yours. My wife and I going to be filing for divorce in the next couple of days. She wants to leave to Kansas with our daughter to be closer to her family. I’m going to a long distance father. Im really struggling with the idea I won’t see my daughter on a regular basis. How did you deal with being apart from your kids? What was the hardest part? What got you through it? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Hello Mario. Im sorry to learn that you are in a similar scenario. The biggest factor of being able to cope was a constant form of communication. I used to send letters because the children were too young for the phone or technology. I also, because back then the relationship with my divorcing spouse was rough, used to employee the help of caring family members to send me picture updates of events and visits they had with my children. I was also fortunate enough to have a career position that I could freely travel to them 1x a month and… Read more »

Mario
Guest
Mario

Thanks Adam for your response. I also plan on visiting my daughter 1x a month and pay child support. I wanted to do 2x a month but I can’t economically. For me, the hard part is afraid my daughter will forget who her dad is. I also know I’m going to miss out on a lot of important milestones, and it’s hard to accept that fact. How is your relationship with your kids, especially your youngest? When they see you do they get excited? It’s already hard, I could only imagine what’s its going to be like when my daughter… Read more »

Adam
Guest
Adam

Oh Mario, they/she will never forget who their Daddy is, so long as you maintain the relationship. My kids go absolutely bonkers when they see me. Its the best feeling ever. Now, I spent a critical 2 years of my son’s life being away, but because of the consistency in communication and visitation and an unquestionable love and concern from him, it is ALMOST as if I was never away. You love them they love you back. And eventually they will be old enough to be able to explain it to them/her, but now they are young enough to,love unconditionally.… Read more »

Franco
Guest
Franco

Hello Adam and Mario. How is it going for you two? I am between a rock and a hard place at the moment. my relationship with my son’s mother has broke down and I am really homesick, so I am planning to return back home. My professional aspirations are there as well as my home. However it is hard to make the step as I love my son more than anything and the prospect of only seeing him once a month breaks my heart. I don’t want to stay and regret never trying to accomplish my aspirations, but i don’t… Read more »

Christine L Roe
Guest
Christine L Roe

Hello, I’m glad I found this site… I am a mother of 3 wonderful boys. I am facing a decision to leave one of them with his father while the rest of my family moves 7hrs away. I don’t know yet that it will happen, but I’ve been told by an attorney that it’s unlikely that unless my ex-husband agrees to a long distance parenting plan, the courts would agree to allow me to take my son. I don’t know whether to go through a court battle or just leave my son with his father. I’m very torn. I know… Read more »

Christine L Roe
Guest
Christine L Roe

of us would benefit with me staying home.

Christine L Roe
Guest
Christine L Roe

I don’t know what I would do if I had to leave one of my boys but take the others. My ex and I have a decent visitation schedule worked out right now and we’re with our son pretty much 50/50, but that’s with both of us working full time. I have drawn up a long distance parenting plan to present to him this weekend, but I am so scared that he’s going to completely disregard my reasoning for wanting to move so that I can be a stay at home mother to all of my boys. I don’t want… Read more »

Gale
Guest
Gale

The court rules in the best interest of the child. If you have come up with a fair and well thought plan for keeping your son’s father involved in his life and you are not moving out of malice to hurt your ex….then your son has a great chance of moving with you. It’s not a court battle. Just present the court with your plan and reason for moving. It’s unrealistic for courts to honor your divorce but expect you to stay in the same town for 10-18 years, never remarry or have a career. Please ask the judge first.… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Hi Christine, come over to the facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/451160188251072/, there are folks finding ways of dealing with different varieties of essentially the same problem. It’s tough, but being surrounded by thoughtful people trying to do the best for their kids is a big help.

Brandi
Guest
Brandi

I live in Washington state and all my family lives in the same city in Texas. I have struggled for almost 9 years up here alone. My son is 6 and so amazing! His dad is a great dad, a stable role model who can support him and right now we split our time 50/50. I only manage to find menial jobs and need to live with a roommate to survive. I’ve recently just ended a relationship and now have nwhere to go. I am debating on going to Texas and living with my family for a while until I… Read more »

Jessenia
Guest
Jessenia

I’m glad I found this website. My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship (3hours) for 7 months. I have never been so in love. I’m in my late 30s never been married or had kids. He has a 16 yo who he has custody 100% of. (The mom is in Tenessee and see him on holidays) the other son is 8 and his ex lives in his town. He is a good father and sees his 8 year old every other weekend and all Wednesdays and whenever the ex needs him to take care of him.… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

I am the mother of a 7-year old boy whose father has become a long distance parent. I’d like to share my story here and offer what might be a different perspective. My son and I live here in the US. His father moved from the US back to his home town in Africa last July. My son’s dad and I never married but we were good friends and he was actively involved in our son’s life before he left. While in the US, my son’s dad was a pastor of a small church but was otherwise unemployed and made… Read more »

jeremy
Guest
jeremy

Is this thread still active? Ugh where do I begin. Wife and I got divorced 2013. We have a 5 yr old boy and 7 yr old daughter together. My kids are my whole life. Every since the divorce I have been here completely alone. I’m in a state where I have no family or no friends. Besides me having my kids 2 or 3 days a week I have nobody. To the point where my excitement for the weekend is going to the grocery store. I have been doing this for a year and a half now. I go… Read more »

Debra
Guest
Debra

Hi Jeremy. I also just found this site and don’t know if it’s active. I’m thinking about joining the Facebook page mentioned in the replies but I have some privacy concerns. I can completely understand wanting to move, even away from our child(ren)’s hometown. I hate where I live and know for a fact that I will be happier if/when I leave. I feel guilty just thinking about it, but justify it because I’ll be a better long-distance, less frequent mom than a crabby, angry every-other-week mom. My son is 12 and starting that normal but painful process (to me)… Read more »

Carrie
Guest

Hi Debra and welcome to the site! It is an active site in that I post as I am able and there is a pretty steady trickle of member conversation and posts. 🙂 The facebook group is set to private so that only other group members can see your posts. I hope you will join us there!

Maria Fernandez
Member
Maria Fernandez

Hi Carrie, what is the name of the facebook group if you dont mind me asking?

jeremy
Guest
jeremy

thank you! Good luck to you. Toughest decision I’ve ever had to make and don’t wish it upon anyone. I keep going back and forth on my decision but I really can’t spend the rest of my life in a city where I no absolutely nobody. I can’t stare at a wall all day anymore with no interaction except the 2 days a week I have them. Such bullshit. She has all her family and friends out here. Cold hearted. But glad she’s gone. Decisions, decisions. Also my other big issue is if I want to move back to them… Read more »

Vandyke
Guest
Vandyke

I too agree. I am going through the same thing and it is tough. Im a navy veteran who is divorced from my ex wife who i have three kids with. I now have a new wife and a son. We are looking to move to another state due to more job opportunities. Were i am at has no job opportunities and i need to provide for my 3 daughters. I pay no child support right now but moving i know i will however to be happy i feel i have to and to be financially stable i feel i… Read more »

Jeremy Davis
Guest
Jeremy Davis

Anyone that has made the decision to become a long distant parent could you please comment. I’m about 3 weeks out from moving about 2000 miles away. Anybody felt the feeling of “what if I move and don’t feel like being a parent anymore or I’m not going to be able to commit to this long distance thing. I’m having these thoughts now and haven’t even left yet. They are consuming me and I feel completely numb. Pretty sure I’m going through a nervous breakdown because it’s taken me a year and a half to come to this decision. Anybody… Read more »

Mario
Guest
Mario

Jeremy what you are feeling and going through is quite normal. You are going to question your decision no matter what. As long as you are part of your kids life you will be their father. Always keep in touch with them and make it a habit to reach out them. It will get easier once it becomes the norm. Try to visit them if possible. You are the only one that knows why you are making this decision. Be strong and take it a day at a time. Another thing try to see a therapist if possible. If you… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Hi Jeremy – you might want to head over to the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/451160188251072/ where there are plenty of people who know how hard this kind of decision is.

Luce
Guest
Luce

Jeremy, I’m reading your desperate post, wondering if you have moved? My experience has taken me continents away from my children, 4 years have passed and my one regret is not taking them with me, or at the very least making legally binding commitments between the other parent before I moved. If I was your friend or family member I would tell you to stop staring at walls and go out, build a life where you are, make new friends there close to your children. Get over the pain of your ex. Fill your spare time with work and study.… Read more »

jasonic
Member
jasonic

Jeremy,

I’m 5 days away from a trip from Detroit to Oregon, and I’m struggling with the same questions. The most important thing to remember is that you are moving for them, because a healthy, happy father is what they need, not a resentful one. As long as their mother can keep them sheltered, fed, educated and comfortable, you won’t do them any good by worrying about them. Just be as available as you can be, keep them in your heart, and trust that they will always love you.

nhparalegal
Member
nhparalegal

I am so thankful to have found this site. My mother has ALS and I am 850 miles away. The conversations are quicker, the breaks are longer with nothing to say, the day-to-day conversations seem boring to them (to me). So, I look up crazy animal stories, and fun apps like fliplip from itunes. (Makes you talk funny). What else have I got, right? God Help Us All.

Rod
Guest

Thanks for this site i am separated from my daugther her mother decided to move away from me so now i cannot see my daugther every day like before this come by the economical situacion and i depress

Angela
Guest
Angela

I have two long distance parenting situations, distinctly different from one another. My oldest son, lives 1400 miles away from me while his brother with me ( and 1400 from his dad)The boys spend the entire summer together and half with me, half with my ex. there is zero child support and all works out pretty well. yes i miss my oldest, but it was his choice to be with his father, and i respect his decision. his father is more stable, income etc than i have ever been, so i am unsure as to what caused our other son… Read more »

Lucy
Guest
Lucy

I am a mother of a 4 year old girl and I am also thinking to immigrate with my daughter from UK to US to be with my husband and am pregnant with our first child together that is more the reason why I want to move to the US to create a family with him and to start my life afresh after going through a difficult first marriage. My daughter’s dad was from my first marriage, he is a good dad by giving her good times when she is with him every weekend and we both are in good… Read more »

Erica
Guest
Erica

Hello, My name is Erica and I have two daughters, 7 and 3. My situation is a bit different. My husband and I are still married and that isn’t in any danger of changing anytime soon. Our children live in the Caribbean with my husband’s family right now. We live in a city where the schools are not so great and we are not yet able to afford private school. Our 7 year-old had a really tough year in kindergarten last year dealing with racism, being taller and more advanced than the other students, it was very difficult for her.… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

Hi, I’m not sure if this is too late for a response, but I have searched for months to find a website like this. Perhaps if I could tell you a little about my situation, hopefully I can gain some advice. I’m so conflicted I just don’t know what to do. Also, sorry in advance for the essay… I grew up in a small town in the UK where very little opportunity existed. Not being academic, I didn’t make it to University, and so I ended up floating from one dead end job to the next. A situation I hated.… Read more »

Sean
Member
Sean

Sorry I just joined and read this today. You have to do what’s best for both you and your daughter in the long term. That means you have to pursue your dreams. Go for it. It won’t be easy but the fact that you are doing it for truly the right reasons will help you hold your course.

Sonia
Member
Sonia

I have one of the rare situations where I have primary care of our children but joint guardianship with their father who is going to move 171km away from our children to be closer to his new wife’s family when their child is born. I have contacted my lawyer regarding what can be done to prevent this move and found that this type of restriction is so rare that I was advised it may not be financially worth me pursuing in court. This seems ludicrous to me! If I went in court to reduce his parenting time, I would likely… Read more »

Rebekah
Guest
Rebekah

I need advice on how to not feel an overwhelming sense of guilt over making a decision to better provide for my son. I have been the custodial parent for almost 5 years since my ex-husband upped and walked out on us. I have chosen to become a long distance parent for many reasons. If there is anyone who has gone through this or is going through this I would love some advice and to talk.

Chantelle
Guest
Chantelle

Hi Rebekah, I have a almost 2 yr old and almost 3 yr old. I’m in Australia and their father is in the United States. I returned to Australia from the United States in June of 2016 after my ex-husband and i decided to divorce. I was very unhappy in the United States and thankfully my ex-husband allowed me to return to my home country with our boys. I am struggling with guilt though – should I have stayed in the US regardless of how unhappy I was. My boys are much better provided for in Australia, but does that… Read more »

Bernard
Guest
Bernard

Im 44 year old divorced father my daughter is just turnin1g 10 years old and im moving to New York city from Puerto Rico due to find a better economic life and i finally found true love. My daughter and I are very close and see eachother at least 15 days out of the month . My daughter lives with her mom and boyfriend who all care for her trully and dearly. My daughter is not taking the news so well as she is.going to.miss daddy…. i.plan on travelling to Puerto Rico or her mom is willing to send her… Read more »

Paloma Viola
Guest
Paloma Viola

Hello everyone, I am from Australia and have just found this site and I have to say that has given me some comfort. My situation is; I am originally from Uruguay. I have been in Australia for 20 years and I have become very lonely and homesick. On my last travel to Uruguay I found the man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life with. I have 2 children to an Australian man, aged 5 and 7. I love my children dearly but I am not happy in this country anymore. I am not happy with… Read more »

Gale
Guest
Gale

I don’t know if this thread is still active but I have to talk to someone. My soon to be husband is being transferred 8 hours away. It’s a huge promotion and a good opportunity for our family. My daughters 12 & 15 want to stay in their hometown with their father and his fianc. Both are great with the girls. He is an excellent dad and very involved. I chose not to take him to court for many reasons. I can’t afford it, none of us deserves a battle and while my girls didn’t choose the divorce, I felt… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Hi Gale – if you want to crunch it through, come over to the facebook group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/distanceparent/

There are plenty there who have had to various iterations on the decision you’re facing.

Whichever way it falls out – good luck…

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Hi, I’m Lisa from South Africa. My ex husband abandoned me and our 3 children 6 years ago. He moved in with another woman and they chose to have a child a few months after our son was born. We never had a good relationship and it was marred by his abusive behaviour towards me (drinking, drugs, adultery ect.) and yet he was a good dad to my first 2. He saw the kids maybe twice a year and took them then on fun filled holidays, then deposited them back with me to raise. His maintenence payments have always been… Read more »

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

I feel for your distress, children will never know the depths of ouright sacrifices until they are grown up and have children of their own. Young girls are particularly difficult during teen years, especially with their mothers. In your situation, it seems best if you are ok in your heart with it….allow her to go. Giving her the space she needs to re establish a relationship with her father is good. Perhaps in that space, she may she things in his new wife that she doesn’t like, in a motherly way. I am learning that as a mom to a… Read more »

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

Don’t know where to begin. I am struggling so hard to make my decision. I am married with two kids. My ex is remarried with 3. I am struggling where I am at now. I am trying to make a better life for my family. My ex, whom I have a 7 year old with, is remarried and has always had strong opinions on me not taking my son away. I have never given him the thoughts that I would do so. He is a very active father and would never think about taking him out the picture. I need… Read more »

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

I certainly can feel the pain of uncertainty. Let me share my story with you. It’s not intended to influence your decision. I can attest from my personal experience……I left my place of residence for what I hoped would be a better life, leaving my 14 year old with his father. His father and I never got along, nor married. My husband wanted to get a new start, as he too was suffering from ex issues of his own. I was certain moving to another state would offer me the opportunity to give my son better. I was seriously mistaken.… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Hi, I’m 17 and my mum, dad and brothers are all leaving to go to America soon. (We live in the UK at the moment) what kind of long distance parenting is this? And do you have any advice because I’m finding it very hard to come to terms with the fact that they’re leaving

Carrie
Guest

Hi, Lisa. That would definitely be a long distance relationship with your parents. When I was 15, I moved to live with my father, away from my mother so I have experienced being a person in one’s late teens and managing that relationship. I’ve also been a long distance parent of a young child and custodial parent of a now 17 year old son who’s father is at a distance. It’s tough to be away from your family. However, you have some advantage in being a little older. Not only will your parents (hopefully) do their best to maintain a… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Thankyou so much – that was very helpful

Christina Snyder
Guest
Christina Snyder

After the Strategic Air Command closed in my town, my dad was forced to take early retirement and work at a gas station. Not making enough money for the family, he took a DOD job in California for a year and visited home only a few times. He finally got a transfer to a job only 4 hours drive away from home and came home every weekend. We did not move with him supposedly because I was doing so well in school and the plan was for mom and dad to live together again somewhere once I started university. The… Read more »

Dannii
Guest
Dannii

I met my partner 2 years ago and we have been living together for a year. All is going really well. I have a 13 year old who lives with us and he has a 7 year old who lives with his mum. My partner talks to his son on skype and they see each other every few months. Sometimes the 7 year old comrs to us and sometimes he goes to visit him. The 7 year old keeps asking when his dad is going to move to his state and my partner doesnt know how to tell him that… Read more »

Robert
Guest

Hello. I stumbled across this site, and I am glad I did. Here is my story. I am the non custodial parent of a 14 and 16 year old. I am extremely involved with my children and see them at least 2 days a week. my son (16) would tell you that we are best friends, as I would say the same also. My daughter not so much. She is still very angry about the divorce. Anyway I had met the love of my life four years ago. At that time we both lived in the same state. I never… Read more »

Karen Webb
Guest
Karen Webb

I’m in a tough situation I have a 16 year old who I have sole custody of he’s dad tells me my son has to take a week off he’s new job to spend a week with him because that’s what the parenting time states.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

In February 2016 my whole life changed when I suffered a freak accident, and broke my neck. I had a successful business that I had to shut down, and it was up to my wife to support me, our 3 kids, and pay my child support for my 1st daughter from another relationship. It has been almost 2 years since the accident, and I have made a full recovery. I have finally landed a job with a railroad company in Montana, and I am moving in a few days. My wife & I decided it would be best to let… Read more »

Quentin
Guest
Quentin

I am not a parent but, I am researching separation for my class, and I can’t find anything about long distance parenting with some siblings living with one parent and the other siblings live with the other parent, which is what I’m dealing with right now. I just can’t find research or any information about long distance separation of siblings after divorce

Joelle-Raye
Member
Joelle-Raye

I am happy that there are persons with stories of commonality here. I have just recently moved away from my children to a new country in hopes of, being able to better provide for them as I struggled on my own as much of the assistance came from the extended family of my children’s father. Many times I felt so defeated and sad as we all lived together and the kids grew up to a certain way of life. If I took them they would not be catered to in the same way. My 5 and 8 year old currently… Read more »

alyssa
Guest
alyssa

Good evening, i am writing because i am neither of these currently my boyfriend and i have been together for 4.5 years. he has 4 children with two different moms. i live about 500 miles away from them. he has traveled for work for the last 8 years of the kids life. the youngest (twins) he has traveled all their life. we have talked about him moving to be with me and trying to have another baby. every time something gets too stressful he up’s and leaves and tells me that he isnt going to be away from his kids… Read more »

Adam
Guest
Adam

This is something thats tearing me apart, my son is 5 years old, and im planning to move to another state, with a better job and to be more financially stable, but infear my son will hatebme for leaving him with his mother, not tonsay bad things but hisnmother makes nad decisions in life and feel it couldeffect my son. But with a better job incan help my son for the future and I still plan on having him every summer and every major holidays. But again mybfear is that he will hate me for moving.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Hi, I’m 18 years old and my paresnt and 2 brothers moved to Texas a month ago, I can tell you that once your son gets used to it he should understand that you’re doing what is best. I was really resentful of my parents at first because it was unexpected and I felt abandoned but given a bit of time I realised they have to do what is best for them. Your son will have plenty of time to adjust to the change and will probably not even remmebe it actually happening it’ll just feel like the norm. So… Read more »

Malcolm
Member
Malcolm

Hello all, I just came across this article while trying to wrestle with a decision. I’ll try to keep this as short as possible while I keep my fingers crossed that I get some responses. First off, it was refreshing to come across this article after reading so many other articles that only want to focus in on the negative aspects of long distance parenting. Anyway, my story: I moved to Indiana about 10 years ago. Met my now ex-wife and we had a daughter together. She is 6 years old. While still married and when my daughter was just… Read more »

Derek
Member
Derek

Malcom, Seems like we are in somewhat similar situations. I want to leave the state where I moved back post military to be closer to my son as well. I posted below here and we can share advice or stories. I know that I will probably get shamed at home with my family or friends(not that I have many of those) for even contemplating this decision. Although I am able to physically provide for my son on paper here…. I feel like I am not because I am so unhappy. I have the means to do long distance parenting and… Read more »

Malcolm
Member
Malcolm

Derek, I read over your post and it definitely seems like we are in similar situations. Well except for the relationship with the ex. My ex wife and I have no relationship. She doesn’t answer the phone when I call to talk to my daughter. She doesn’t even come to the door to say hi when I pick up my daughter. So that’s what I am dealing with. But, since I made my original post I have actually decided to make the move back to Georgia. I plan on moving next month. This is obviously not a decision I have… Read more »

Derek
Member
Derek

I am completely lost on what to do. I left the military service in the middle of last year to be closer to my child (5). I honestly wish I fought harder to stay in and still work out a custody agreement that works because I am truly lost/depressed since departing. In a sense of providing I am a great father on my own. I have my own place, financially stable…. but involving my son I am just going through the motions. When he is with me we just go from daycare to home and back again. I am so… Read more »

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

This really helps me. I’ve been feeling like such a monster for even considering moving away from my children. My ex and I moved to a small rural community in Missouri to help her father. Well the divorce happened while we were living there and I was forced into a small apartment only 5 minutes from my children. As things go time has passed and my ex found a new man. Hes a good man and treats my children well, so im not terribly upset about her moving on. The issue is he lives in another state 2 hours away… Read more »

rob
Guest
rob

Hi, I feel for you. I have been living in Germany since my ex and I split up, she lives in the UK with our kids. My initial feeling was I have failed my kids, eventhough I visit them once a month on a weekend. We also agreed that I could skype my kids once a week, which had worked until communication between me and my ex broke down 4 weeks ago, since then nothing…She has full control in regards to our kids and knows that she can hurt me through them… Anywho, everyone I speak to understand why I… Read more »

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

Ive been looking for some place to get help coping. My wife just recently asked for a divorce. A little backstory. She is in the military and im a civilian. Ive been a stay at home dad for 4 years. Before that i was in college and dropped out to get married to her and move from oregon to illinios. When she told me we were done she also said she wanted me out. She doesnt want to keep our kids from me. I wasnt great with my duties as a stay at home dad. I didnt clean and failed… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

What a brilliant site and remarks. My marriage failed back in 2013. My ex-wife wanted me out the house initially on a trial basis. Well… its 2018 now and we ended up divorcing. Meanwhile she has a boyfriend and I am happily married again. The marriage didn’t end because she had a new boyfriend or me girlfriend… well I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time, if she was already with her boyfriend at the time I can’t say, what I can say is that we both knew him at the time… Anyway, after 15 years of marriage and having… Read more »

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

My ex wife is moving with our 3 month old across country. I’m signing an agreement for her to go just so she will drop a restraining order that she placed on me made up of lies. I have to do this or I will loose my job. There is a parenting time schedule in play but between airplane, hotel, rent a car and not knowing the area I truly know I will never get to see her. By the time my daughter is old enough to skype or whatever she won’t know who I am. Any advice on my… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

I am in a very similar situation and have been for some years now. I presently live a whole continent away from my two daughters and it really does hurt, however, they live in Italy and being a foreigner as it pertains to Italy, there just not any jobs. The Italian economy has been in crisis for like thirty years and so even if I was Italian, I would have a problem finding a job there. I do pay child support and try to contact my daughters at least once a week, but it seems that I still am looked… Read more »

Feeling Like a Failure
Member
Feeling Like a Failure

I am a not custodial parent with joint custody of my children. I have remarried and live with the 50 mile radius allowed by my divorce decree. My children are 14 and soon to be 17, youngest is my son and oldest is my daughter. & have been divorced now for 7 years but was separated for 4 years prior to that. My kids go back and forth between our homes and it is a rather crazy schedule as my ex is a police officer who works shifts. Our relationship is the say hi and socially exceptable in front of… Read more »