Some divorced Illinois parents may find themselves living long-distance from their children for work or other reasons. While this can be difficult, there are many things parents can do to keep the bond strong.
First, parents should keep the focus on quality of visits over quantity. They may not be able to see their children as often, but when they do, they can make sure the time counts. One way to do this is by ensuring that the child remains the focus of the visit. If the parent is dating someone, this is probably not the time to introduce the child unless the relationship is serious. Even then, parents should spend most of their time alone with the child. Some children may prefer when parents come to visit them, and parents should talk to them about what their preferences are.
There are many ways that parents can remain involved in children's lives from afar. Messages sent by text, email or even postcards as well as phone calls at unscheduled times reassure children that their parents are thinking of them. Parents should learn about what their children are interested in and try to get to know their friends and their friends' parents. This can make it more likely that children are able to bring their friends along on outings and trips.
Parents may start out after divorce living nearby, and a change in circumstances could make it necessary for one parent to relocate. Usually, parents will need to return to court for a custody modification in these situations. If a long-distance parent or one who is nearby is not paying support, the custodial parent still does not have a right to keep the child from that parent. If there is a legal support agreement in place, the parent can go through the legal system to collect the support.