Another Long Distance Q Re: Visitation Schedules - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 01-21-2008, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone who lives a significant distance from your ex, please, PLEASE...what is your visitation schedule like? I am especially interested for toddlers/young children? How often are the visits/how long? Where do they take place...always your hometown or his? Who transports and who pays? I'm just trying to get an idea of what would be reasonable for me to ask for in terms of modification to our visitation. Right now, ex comes here (1600 miles) four times a year for at least three days at a time (he never exercises more than three days.) He gets one overnight per visit per our order but I JUST let him have two the last visit so as to prepare DS for what's to come. As I stated in another post, when DS turns 3, in December, ex gets to have DS for up to six one week periods a year in his home state! I think it's unfair that all visits are allowed to take place in his home state for the next 15-18 years...that puts a lot of burden on my shoulders. Also, instead of Thanksgiving and Christmas alternations every year for's DS's birthday (Dec 7) and Christmas. This is not really going to be doable once I start school in the fall and once DS starts school (if I don't HS). Is it unreasonable for me to request that the alternating occur on Thanksgiving instead of his birthday and if ex wants to see DS on his birthday he is more than welcome to come to our state to visit? What would you guys do? Oh, and as of now I'm supposed to be paying for half of ALL these trips.

Please give me some insight into your visitation lives!

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#2 of 11 Old 01-21-2008, 12:38 PM
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My long distance set up was quite liberal. Her dad paid all the travel expenses so it was easiest for him to visit us because otherwise he had to pay to fly,pick her up and buy another ticket and fly back ,which was alot of money and tickets. We let him stay with us. He saw her and did as much as he wanted to with her but he always felt like she was more comfortable sleeping in her home and bed, which she was. She functioned better during the visits and had a better time with him when she was well rested and comfortable. Luckily he saw this. Because of travel costs he only visited maybe 1-2 times a year. I would think logically that him visiting for a week over his birthday and a week over christmas just doesn't make sense. Now if he goes to school that would be impossible because he would miss out on school. I am all for homeschooling but that gives way to more visitation. I would ask for alternating thanksgiving and christmas and for him to come visit for birthdays. Again if he is in school there isn't a week break at Thanksgiving either so it would be more like a 4 day trip.I would not allow a young child to travel alone so this means alot of travel expenses. It is logical to me for him to come and visit where you are. Unless you both have around $1000 per visit. But i'm sure if the dad wants to establish a relationship then he will want his kid to know where he lives, but the age of 3 seems awfully young for all this travel and visiting.
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#3 of 11 Old 01-21-2008, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Avani View Post
the age of 3 seems awfully young for all this travel and visiting.
I agree. Some kids could probably handle it fine. Mine wouldn't be able to. All depends on the personality

My long distance set-up is different, and not really pertinant to you, since my ex doesn't have an interest in seeing ds. I'll tell you what's "supposed" to happen though.

I moved ds (4 now) out of state (2 states away, about a 6 hour drive in good weather/traffic). What was "supposed" to happen was me bringing ds back to Michigan every 6-8 weeks for the weekend. Ex had the chance to see ds as much as he wanted on Saturday and Sunday morning before we left (supervised by me). However, ex skipped all the visits in 2007 so this year we won't be doing that. I'll still take ds back to Michigan (most of my family lives there) but it won't be on any set schedule and I won't be informing ex of when. If he decides he wants to see ds then he can call me and we'll work something out (more than likely I'll set up a weekend where I'll take ds back to Michigan and ex will be given the chance to see him (supervised).

As for who pays.... DP and I foot the bill for the gas and other expenses of traveling every 6-8 weeks. But, even if ex were seeing ds during our visits, we wouldn't ask ex to help pay for it. We use the time to visit with my family and, honestly, we'll probably be going to see my family every 8ish weeks still (even without ex doing visits).

Ex does not, and will not, have visitation where ds and I live. This is ds and my sacred place, without any ex vibes going on.

Let me get this straight.... starting in December your ex is going to get 6 one week visits with your ds? When are these visits supposed to take place? I can't imagine any Judge is going to order a child to miss a week of school at a time. Yikes!

What about doing a week over spring break, a week in June, a week at the beginning of august (before school starts) and a long weekend over Thanksgiving or week over Christmas break? Shoot, that's only 4. So 2 would still need to be done during actual school, which means he would miss up to 10 additional days of school. That's way too much! Maybe a long weekend in October (I know my old school had a long weekend in October for.... teacher days or something).

Sorry, just thinking aloud about what I would try to do in that situation.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#4 of 11 Old 01-21-2008, 03:08 PM
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Ex is in France. DD & I are in MN. Long distance enough? LOL!

Our divorce agreement states that:

He will have open visitation in DD's house (with me present--I don't have to leave when he comes) any time he wants to come at mutually agreed upon dates. However, if we cannot agree on dates for his visits here, he may come anytime in the first two weeks of odd numbered months if he gives me 15 days' notice.

In addition, he has the equivalent of overnights (i.e. without me) in France for 5 weeks per year as follows:

- odd numbered years: 3 weeks (21 days) ending July 31st, and 2 weeks at Christmas (according to DD's school vacation schedule); and

- even numbered years: 5 weeks (35 days) ending July 31st.

There is also a provision allowing us to do something else when "both parties agree to other arangements".

It also specifies that these visits in France are to happen specifically during his vacation time when he is not working. (So, if he can't get off work, she doesn't have to go.)

Re: travel, it states that DD will not travel unaccompanied before her 16th birthday unless both parents agree.

For the visits in France (and again "unless agreed otherwise"), he is to fly here to pick her up at the start, and I am to fly to France to pick her up at the end.

Re: cost, all visits here are "at his expense" 100%.

For the visits in France, each of us pays for our own plane tix and we split the cost of DD's. (I am responsible for making the reservations, and he is to reimburse me, to ensure that we can get DD to fly on his return flight, and fly her return flight on my return flight--if that makes sense.)

So far, she's been to France for overnights twice. Both times I took her to France and stayed there until it was time to go home. We also agreed to a few days on either end where she would spend days with him and nights with me (which meant fewer overnights since we were only there 3 then 2 weeks).

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#5 of 11 Old 01-21-2008, 03:57 PM
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I think a large part depends on both the child's personality and also the relationship they have with the other parent. Since my dd is sooo young she could handle traveling fine and she enjoys seeing her dad but she would hit the fan if I was out of sight for more than an hour or two.... that I know will change!

Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
What was "supposed" to happen was me bringing ds back to Michigan every 6-8 weeks for the weekend.
I think that is really the best option when considering the children. They still get to see dad consistently (if it were happening) as the child(ren) were older I would also allow the other parent to have them a few weeks a year because I think they would all be comfy with that....

Honestly when they are school age it sounds like he will get them Long weekend over Thanksgiving ,1-2 weeks over Christmas break (because I assume Christmas and Thanksgiving will be EOH), 1 week over Spring break & the rest over the summer. The only other way I have seen it the child to have one week each semester (winter break/spring break) then the entire summer with the other parent.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#6 of 11 Old 01-21-2008, 08:01 PM
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DD's dad is about a 13 hour drive. We don't have any kind of formal set up, but he is allowed to see her whenever he wants. He usually comes here 3-4 times a year and stays at our house for about 5 days. My ex MIL comes with him sometimes too, and his family all has an open invitation to visit anytime.

This year, we will be making at least one trip to his place so that DD has a chance to see her family there, and we have talked about the possibility of spending Christmas there, but nothing has been decided for certain.

When DD is old enough to fly by herself, then we will probably fly her back and forth several times a year for long weekends with her dad. It is inexpensive and the flight is short. We will probably also look into her spending longer periods of time at his house when she is a bit older as well. But right now she is only 4, so I go everywhere that she does.
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#7 of 11 Old 01-21-2008, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the responses! It's all really frustrating and complicated...mostly because he will not communicate with me in regards to anything and goes to the extreme in trying to make things difficult for me. There is a TON of grey area in our parenting/custody/CS order that was never defined and should be that he uses to his advantage over and over and over because he knows that I don't have the $$ to fight EVERY. LITTLE. THING. he does. Neither one of us have family in his state of residence and his mother (his ONLY living relative) lives between the two of hours from him, nine from me. I suppose her house would be a good half way point for us in the future but there really need to be some things in our order that are a little more defined. And to clarify to one of the PPs...DS will not be in school yet this fall but I will. I will be studying FT to get my degree in Graphic Design. I know that HSing would possibly lead to more liberal visitation, which I'm not opposed to if he truly wants to spend the time getting to know DS. It also, however, means that DS would not be away from me for half of the summer because he can't see his dad throughout the school year, which is a huge trade off to me! I would much rather DS continue to do smaller (1-2 weeks) visits throughout the year than to be away for six weeks or more through the only time I would have to really enjoy him, YK? Anyway...Keep the visitation schedules coming, mamas, this is really helpful!

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#8 of 11 Old 02-14-2008, 06:47 PM
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I'm trying to come up with a plan now. X and I both moved out of state a year ago, I moved to live near family (I live in NY he lives in MA, we used to live in CT). The GAL wants to force us both to move back. Family relations wants the children to travel 10 hours per week. I'm pulling my hair out.

it's espesially frustrating because we lived in NY before and only moved to CT for school.
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#9 of 11 Old 02-14-2008, 07:31 PM
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Our long distance was about 600 miles and started when dss was about 5. At first we said, come whenever you want (she has family here). Our lawyer advised us that if it went to court we'd be responsible for 1/2 of driving or plane expense so to start driving. We did everyother month weekend visitation alternating at her house/our town. We did alternate Thanksgiving/Christmases. She also had Spring Break. During the summer she had dss for 2 weeks, but she was pushing to have him all summer. Our lawyer said it could happen in court, but fortunalty she moved closer before it went to court and never happened. We never officially did birthdays, though if she was in town, she was welcome. One reason is that it isn't a holiday. Noboday has it off work/school so doesn't really make sense for travel.

I do think it is burdensome to be responsible for 1/2 of travel, but that is what we found to be true, also. I wish long-distance parents would come to the children because I think it is more stable for kids who don't see a parent often to still be in their town. . . but I guess I also see that they want the child in their home.
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#10 of 11 Old 02-14-2008, 09:00 PM
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We're 2000 miles away from DH's 2 children.

Our arrangement is as follows:

Technically, I think we can have one weekend a month, but in practice, their mom is very flexible and will let us have them whenever as long as they don't miss school and we don't keep them very long.

We also get every other Thanksgiving/Christmas and every Spring Break, plus 42 days in the summer. Those we follow the decree to the letter, pretty much and there is not much flexibility.

In practice, as they are young (3 and 7, and we've been bringing them here since the youngest was 2 and they both do great!), it takes 4 plane tickets to get them here and back, but in our experience, it is MUCH better to have them here than visit them at their place.

Here's why: when we visit from out of town, we have to stay in a hotel. This means the kids can't just be a normal family with us, as we're always in the hotel room or on some activity. It also means we have to eat out every meal, which gets old (and expensive!). And truly, at a rate of 4 plane tickets to come to our place where we are at home as a family and the kids have their own rooms and their own toys and their own books (it sucks lugging bedtime stories and toys and baby shampoo and art supplies, etc. for a weekend visit) compared to having them in a hotel and eating out all the time and it feels less like regular family life. Then you figure that costs 2 plane tickets plus a rental car, hotel, and meals, and it's kind of a wash financially.

So since they cost about the same, our usual plan is to bring them here whenever there is a long enough break in school (every other Thanksgiving, half of every Christmas Break, every Spring Break, and 42 summer days) and for us to go there if it's a 3-day weekend or something. And yes, this is all incredibly expensive, about $2 grand per visit for holidays since the tickets are priciest when we're allowed to see them.

Plus we like to see them every month if possible (it isn't always possible, but we do try, and we hunt for bargain fares and sometimes dash in on short notice if we get a good deal). Lately we're spending almost as much on visitation as child support! Oh, and we pay 100% of visitation costs. And no, we're not rolling in cash -- this is all very expensive for us, but I made a commitment to my husband and the kids and I'm sticking to it.

The trickiest bit is when one of us goes to pick them up. He flies in, then has to rent a car and drive to pick them up, which means he has to fly with carseats just to pick them up, and has to make sure he has enough time before his return flight to go get them. If we can't get the return tickets to fit that schedule all in one day, then he has to stay overnight to pick them up. Same drill for dropping them off. Since their mom lives ten minutes from the airport, I feel she should at least drive them that far, as she pays none of the visitation cost. And luckily, as our relationship with her has improved, now she has picked them up from the airport once and for one visit we made to town she let us borrow a car seat! Ah, progress...

Oh, one more thing about long distance visitation -- have you tried a videophone? It's much better than a phone call for the kids to connect with the long distance parents. and may help with the transition for young kids, as they'll be used to the other parent(s).

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#11 of 11 Old 02-15-2008, 10:23 PM
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My ex lives in the midwest & I live in the south (about 900 miles apart). Our kids are 7, 5, and 3. Since the older 2 are in school (and ex is a teacher), all visitation revolves around the school year. He gets them for Spring Break and for six weeks in the summer. We are alternating Thanksgiving & Christmases. Since he can't really take them all the way back to his home over a Thanksgiving break, he'll either stay in my town for Thanksgiving or will take them to visit some of his family who live in nearby states. We meet halfway for exchanges (my best friend lives almost exactly in the middle of our towns) & we each pay for our leg of the basically, we split the costs.

I'm dreading the 6 weeks in the summer, because I know I'll be a wreck without them here. However, it's really important to me that they spend as much time with their dad as they can. They have a good relationship with him & I really want to preserve that.

They also talk on the phone with him daily & they chat via webcam once or twice a week.

full-time student and single mommy to 3 fabulous little guys!
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