I'm trying to relocate, approx. 200miles from where my Ex lives. I would be taking our ds with me (he's currently 2.5yo), and I want to know how summer visitation works with a long distance visitation schedule? (I'm not relocating to be difficult - I have been offered my dream job and need to relocate since I'm currently unemployed and on food stamps and medicaid - the job would have amazing benefits, a good salary, and I will have family close by, whereas I have zero support network where I am currently, plus the new location has AMAZING public schools, and my current city has some of the worst in the country. Please no flames for trying to relocate, I'm just looking for ideas for a visitation schedule)
We are trying to figure out a schedule for now until ds starts kindergarten, and then a schedule for after ds starts kindergarten.
Knowing what other peoples arrangements are would be great. (and, sorry for crashing, but it seems like most of us in the single parenting board are in close proximity to our Ex's, or have ex's who aren't very involved - I know there are some of you that have long distance visitation schedules with step-kids, or your own kids, and I wanted to hear what they are and how well they work).
We live a lot farther from my husband's ex than you are planning to move so visitation involves an expensive all-day flight, which puts some limitations on visits here and there... but I'll share our schedule anyway.
We had 50/50 custody until we moved the spring before my step-daughter started kindergarten. She moved with us, then returned to her mom's state to go to school in the fall. We have her here every school break (winter, spring, and summer) and a for week every other Thanksgiving. My husband flies there every month that she is not here, including most long weekends. Because we moved, we pay for the cost of those visits, but they share the cost of her trips here (each pays the cost of the start of their own parenting time). Mom doesn't have visitation while she is with us.
Here, the standard summer schedule when parents of school-age children live far apart (and the one we follow with my step-son) is that the NCP may choose any 7-week period in the summer, to have the child. The NCP also gets all of every spring break and one week of winter break.
However, our state guidelines also give the nebulous instructions that any time the parent without the child is in the area where the child is, that parent is entitled to "liberal visitation". IOW, "The court is reluctant to set a hard-and-fast schedule that would mandate or limit parents' traveling for visits, and prefers to defer to the parents, to work out convenient times as they go along."
Since you and your ex will not be living terribly far apart, you ought to be able to arrange much more frequent visits - so your child doesn't have to go weeks or months without seeing one or the other of you. However, if one of you is as uncooperative as my step-son's mother, a concept like 'liberal visitation' could mean spending all your money and extra time in court! In that case, it would be better to have a clear, court-approved document with a strict schedule of visits that truly work, with both your and your ex's schedules. It should also define who's going to do the transporting. Since you're moving, I guess he might successfully make the argument that you should be burdened with all the time and fuel expenses of travel. However, if you and your ex each drove 100 miles (1.5 - 2 hours?) and met in the middle, it seems like you could accomplish more frequent visits than if one of you had to drive 200 miles (and back).
I know our state guidelines also make different provisions for kids who are younger than school-age. I'm not well-versed in those, because I didn't know anything about my step-kid's custodial situation until he was already in school. But generally I find our state guidelines to be pretty reasonable and well-thought-out. If you want to check them out, here's the link: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/parenting/index.html
When dss was 4, his mother moved away. The arrangment was to be that he was with her one week per month with us sharing the driving.She was also to have him all summer. She moved back before that started, though. . Can I ask what the current schedule is? Here, when a parent moves away, they tend to let the parent "make up" their time in the summer. They try to let the noncustodial parents still get their 25% or 40% or what ever vistitation but it will just take place during the summers and vacations.
I think it somewhat depends on the child's age. Certainly before kindergarten, being away from you for 6 or more weeks is too much. My DSD is 10 and just spent her first 6 straight weeks with us--we moved up gradually from 3 two-week visits at 6 and 7, 2 three week visits at 8 an 9 and now the six weeks. She did fine, but I don't think she would have at 6. And definitely not at 2 or 3--even 2 weeks would not have worked for her then.
Sorry that wasn't helpful. I would say the more frequent the better, even if it means shorter visits and more travel for the parents.
The other thing you can do is check you court's website for sample parenting plans. This would give a rough idea of what you might expect if you ended up in court.
Good luck. No flames on the move. We moved to escape the crazy, and everyone is happier!