In the fast-paced, global world we live in today, many jobs require that you travel to another city, state or even country. Sales consultants, pilots, recruiters, archaeologists, geologists, travel writers, reporters, auditors, photographers… the list is endless.
As a parent, you cherish each moment you spend with your child. The last thing you want to do is to sacrifice valuable time in a shared-custody agreement simply because your job involves travel.
Unfortunately, some parents believe this to be true. Without the right advice, they do not know how creative they can be when negotiating and drafting terms for the agreement.
Step 1: Don’t confine yourself to the traditional arrangements
When two parents live in the same city, they often create a schedule that has a predictable and even schedule. Sharing every other week is one of the most common. There is nothing wrong with this type of arrangement, but it does not work for all families.
Never make the assumption that these typical arrangements are the only options available. Maybe you only travel once a month, every other week or every other month. Work your plan around your schedule. If your schedule is unpredictable, make sure that flexibility is part of your plan.
Step 2: Make technology your friend
Technology is often on the receiving end of negative comments when it comes to relationships. These comments are not without substance. Next time you go out to dinner, take a look around the restaurant. It would take approximately two seconds for you to find someone focused on their cellphone, ignoring the rest of the people at their table.
Technology can be your best friend if you travel. Various platforms, like FaceTime or Skype, allow you to live chat with your children. Communicating live, on screen can make it feel like the miles between you have disappeared.
Do not limit your on-screen time to talking. Make it an event. Have them show you their latest drawing, read them a bedtime story or take them on a walk to see the city you are in.
Step 3: Carve out specific terms for technology in your plan
Whether or not you have a good working relationship with your spouse, make technology part of your custody arrangement. If you have to give up physical time with your child (those every other week schedules), make video-chatting a requirement.
You can make your terms flexible or specific, even including x-hours of screen time during travel. The possibilities are endless.
What would work for your family?