Also, when he does fly to visit his dad how will I know he is safe during layovers and when he's switching flights? Do they assign someone to stay with him the whole time? Since it is such a long flight there are usually multiple layovers for sometimes hours at a time.
He won't really form a bond if he never sees Dad in person...he will know who he is, but since he is so young, he won't have the understanding of dad as a real person if he never sees him! I think older kids who already had the bond would be okay maintaining the bond through Skype and phone for a while if necessary, but not if the bond was never there to begin with and not for 5 years.
That said, I would not be okay with a very young child going so far for an extended period of time either, which creates a pretty big problem! Do you think he is going to file for custody? He will probably be granted a week over holidays plus a few weeks over the summer, starting from a pretty young age, so it would more than likely be to your benefit to work something else with him first. Also just an FYI, but you might be ordered to pay for all of that travel since you were the one to move away...not necessarily, but there is a chance.
Are you willing/able to take the child there a few times a year? Is dad willing/able to travel to you to see the child a few times a year? That's really my only idea that doesn't involve the child going for a long time alone ,but obviously you'll have to get along enough to spend time together during those visits, plus have the $$ for a lot of travelling.
Regarding sending a 5-year-old alone cross country...I personally wouldn't. I'm not sure that airlines allow this at that age either, but you'd have to ask the policy and ask how supervised they would be during lay overs etc.
I think it is more common for the parents to fly with the kids until they are older-i.e. dad would fly to you, pick up son, fly back to Alaska, then at end of visit you would fly to Alaska then fly home with son. Again, very pricey.
Skype and phone is a nice supplement for a long distance parent, but I don't at all think it is a substitute for in person parenting, so I hope you guys find a solution!
Are you getting divorced, or were you never married? For a divorce, there will be a court decision about this, although of course it's still important to think about what you want so you have a plan to tell your lawyer. If you were never married to your child's father, you may be able to work out the custody/visitation plan on your own if both of you are willing.
I'd aim for having the father come to visit in Virginia and spend days with the baby, bringing him back to you at night, at least once a year for at least 3-4 days. More frequent visits would be better than a longer one, although more expensive. If the father isn't able to take enough time off work but you are, then you take the baby to visit him. Once baby is weaned, he could have overnight visits, gradually working up to your taking a separate vacation in Alaska while your son is with his father, and then once your son is about 8-10 years old he could make the trip alone.
All this is assuming that this man who was violent with you is never violent with your son, and that he stops DUI-ing. If those are continuing problems, unsupervised visits may not be appropriate. I hope it works out well for you! Congratulations on your baby!
Mama to a boy EnviroKid 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby !
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