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Challenges for long-distance parents after divorce

Illinois parents who move away from their children after divorce might be worried about whether they will be able to maintain the relationship from a distance. While they may not be able to spend as much time with their children as they would if they were nearby, they can take steps to ensure that the time they do have together counts.

Some children may prefer that their parents come to visit them, and parents should talk to them about their preferences. Whatever the arrangement, parents should try to ensure that they have plenty of alone time with their children. This is not the time to introduce children to people the parents are dating unless the relationship has become a serious one. Parents may want to try to meet their children's friends and parents of these friends. This helps them become more involved in their children's lives and may increase the likelihood that the friends will be allowed to accompany the child and noncustodial parent on trips.

In between visits, parents can stay in touch with their children with texts, emails and social media. They can also send postcards and make phone calls outside the ones that are scheduled. These messages should be positive and encouraging and should ask children about things going on in their lives.

If parents are going through a divorce, it is not inevitable that they will have to go to family court to reach an agreement on child custody and visitation. However, if negotiations outside of court fail or a parent is worried about the child's safety with the other parent, litigation might be the only option. An attorney may be able to help a parent prepare for either negotiations or litigation. In the latter case, parents who are fighting to get custody might want to gather evidence of their strong relationship with the child.

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