Long Distance Parenting
Co-parenting can be difficult enough when parents live in separate homes, but what happens when a relationship breaks down and one parent chooses to live abroad?
TheParentConnection asked Adele Wilkinson, a Partner in the Family Department at Andrew Jackson Law Specialists to talk us through how separated parents can cope with long distance parenting.
‘It’s a huge event in the life of a child (and his or her parents) if something happens that results in mum living in one country and dad living in another,’ says Adele. ‘However, it’s generally accepted that children cope well with life changing events, providing the adults around them manage the situation well - and that really is the key.
‘Modern technology has a lot to offer in making long distance parenting more accessible,’ continues Adele. ‘Before the advent of the internet, things were very different: phone calls and letters were the only way to supplement visits during holidays.
‘Now though, the story is very different. By using Skype or Facetime, it’s easy to see your children regularly, whether they live in the next street or halfway across the world. Okay, so its not the same as actually seeing your child face to face, but its the next best thing and doesn't cost very much either!
‘Email's another great, cheap way to keep in touch, especially with older children. Parents can send photos, play games, look at the same websites and generally, with a bit of thought and forward planning, maintain a close relationship with their child.
‘There's no reason why parents shouldn't continue to share important information and decide important things for their children together, wherever they live. It needn't be the end of the world if your kids live in another country, it might not be ideal, but by staying positive for your children, you can make the most of the situation.
For more help and advice on co-parenting digitally, read our blog on using technology to reach co-parenting solutions.
Adele Wilkinson has practised as a family lawyer since 1989. She has a wealth of experience in dealing with financial, children and domestic violence issues. Adele is Chair of Hull & East Yorkshire Resolution (the national family lawyers association) and practices the Resolution Code of Conduct to represent family clients through the Court process in a civilised, non adversarial way, when other methods of dispute resolution are not appropriate.