08 Nov 2012

Germantown, TN Child Custody Lawyer Looks at Out-of-town Parent Visitation Issues

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Talking to a Germantown, Tennessee child custody lawyer can help you better understand the various issues that may surround visitation rights. A divorce can be complicated enough, but when you add children to the mix, it can make the situation even more challenging.

Out-of-town Parent Visitation Issues

First make sure that a visitation schedule is part of your custody agreement. This eliminates any confusion and can make the transition from one parent to another much easier.

If the non-custodial parent lives out-of-town, include in your agreement how the child will be transported to visit with the non-custodial parent. With the potential for scheduling concerns, having this spelled out in advance can greatly help.

The following are some of the issues that will need to be specifically addressed when a parent lives out-of-town: 

  • form of transportation child will use (bus, plane, train);
  • if child will be allowed to travel unaccompanied;
  • if child will require supervision while traveling and who will provide it; and
  • who will be responsible for extra costs associated with travel.

In a situation like this, it is often best to work out the arrangement without the intervention of the courts so you and your ex can come to an agreement that works for both of you. Of course, at the same time, both sides need to keep the children’s best interests in consideration when working out a visitation schedule. This means factoring in the child’s age, activities in which he or she is involved and other pertinent issues.

It is not uncommon for there to be disagreements concerning who will pay for what, if children can fly alone and other specifics. Keep in mind that most airlines have age requirements regarding at which age a child can travel alone. It might be best for both sides to share driving time and meet halfway if possible.

For example, Delta airlines requires that children aged five to seven can only travel alone on non-stop flights and those four-years-old and younger cannot travel alone at all. Be sure to check the airline’s policy before booking your flight.

Figuring Out the Visitation Schedule

One of the important things both parents need to consider is that a visitation schedule should be reasonable for the children. Obviously traveling out-of-town every other weekend isn’t ideal. Look at summer or school vacations as a possibility to visit the non-custodial parent.

There are a variety of ways children can keep in touch with parents who are not geographically close, like: 

  • web cams and Skyping;
  • phone calls; and
  • text messaging.

Another thing to consider is the frequency of visits. Even if you live four hours from the other parent, driving back and forth every other weekend can be difficult on everyone. You might consider making this every third weekend or investigate another plan that makes it easier on the children.

Changing a Child Custody Order When Moving

If a parent moves out-of-state after an order for child custody has been written, it may need to be modified. For instance, let’s say a visitation plan has been established and the non-custodial parent has moved to another state; he or she may assume that the children will be able to visit.

Ask your attorney to evaluate your court order. Both parents may have to provide permission to take the children across the state border. Without such permission, the only option may be for the non-custodial parent to try and get the order modified. Before making any moves, legal or physical, consult your attorney to ensure you are not violating a court order.

For more information, see Tennessee Long-Distance Parenting Plans: A Roadmap for Relocation.

Seeking Help from a Germantown Child Custody Lawyer

Of course, both parents will want adequate time with their children. However, long-distance can bring unique challenges that will require, at the heart of it, taking the child’s best interests into consideration.

Resolving visitation rights can be complicated, so speak with a lawyer at the Miles Mason Family Law Group about your legal rights. Call our office at 901-683-1850 to set up a consultation with a Germantown child custody lawyer. We also offer a FREE eBook, which may help when you are going through a divorce.

Miles Mason


Memphis divorce and family lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr. is the founder of Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. For more information about our professional staff, see our Meet the Team page.


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