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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Parenting separately: What to do when you live hours apart

Parenting your child is hard enough when you are divorced, but with an ex-spouse who's several hours away, the distance makes custody arrangements complicated. Your child has to go to one school, needs to be in one place long enough to do homework and activities, and needs a sense of routine. You also realize that your child needs his other parent. What can you do to make this work?

The good news is that there are many ways to arrange custody schedules in situations like yours. For example, if you live in Columbus but your ex lives in Toledo, that's only around two and a half hours apart. Weekend visits may take a little time out of your day but are possible, since each parent has a short drive to meet in the middle. On the other hand, one parent could make the longer trip one way and the other could make a longer trip when your child's returning home, if that works better for your schedule.

Parenting time interference is a serious violation

Most couples who choose to raise a child separately face difficulty learning how to share custody and visitation rights. While some difficulty in this area is normal, sometimes one or both spouses may behave unacceptably, creating parenting time interference.

Parenting time interference is not a laughing matter to family courts. If one parent interferes with the parenting time of the other, the court may choose to punish the offending parent in a number of ways, including rearranging parenting time schedules, loss of parenting privileges, and, in some extreme cases, even criminal charges.

Courtroom Etiquette 101

People often make snap judgments about others. Sometimes, if they take the time to get to know the individuals, they may revise their initial opinions. But far more often, their interactions are too limited to allow for much additional insight.

Such is usually the case in custody hearings. Unless the family law judge has prior experience dealing with the parties involved in contested custody cases, he or she has to render a decision based on the best interests of the child from the impression the individuals make in their brief appearances in court.

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