If you are a dad who has recently gone through a divorce, chances are you are feeling emotions you never knew you had. You may be like many fathers who experienced the deep disappointment of losing custody to your spouse, and you are trying to remain grateful for the few days of visitation you have each week. On the other hand, even if you share custody with your former spouse, the time with your kids may never seem enough.
This feeling of devastation and loss can be overwhelming. However, you may be feeling the loss more powerfully if you are facing a dilemma that may require you to move away. More than half of parents move an hour or more away from their children following a divorce, and some child advocates say this may be hard on their relationships.
The drawbacks of moving away
There are many reasons why parents may move away from their children. You may have a better job offer, or you may be getting remarried to someone who lives in another area of Louisiana. Moving to a new location will certainly affect your custody arrangement. You can expect fewer days with your kids or longer periods of time between visits. While it is a very personal decision, some child psychologists report that one parent moving away can have negative effects on a child, for example:
- You may be unable to attend important milestones like birthdays, sporting events and school pageants, and this often results in emotional distance.
- Your children may be unable to turn to you in a moment of crisis, when they need advice or when they just want to share good news. Doing so through technology does not allow for bonding like your physical presence.
- Your children may take it personally when they sense the added burden of transporting them a greater distance for visitation.
- Research shows that when both parents remain geographically close, the children have a much lower level of anxiety and distress when they reach college age.
- Many children of divorce maintain a positive relationship with both parents when the parents do not move away, even if the parents do not get along.
These are the conclusions of research and data, and your circumstances are unique. You may have figured out a good way to maintain the bond with your children and ensure continued contact with them as often as possible. However, if you are moving away, you may need to amend your parenting agreement so you do not lose precious time with your children. Seeking the advice of a Louisiana attorney is a wise move.