Relocation Wizard: Moving as a Divorced Parent
Last spring I unexpectedly lost my job. Due to the economy, the nature of my profession, and the small area in which I was living, my ex and I knew that meant a move. Since we have a very close and peaceful relationship and share in raising our kids, we decided that we would both look for new jobs in geographical locations where we hoped we could both find employment. As things turned out, the only opportunity that came our way was for me, in Boston, one hundred miles from our original home.
So it was decided that I would take the kids with me, and he would see them on the weekends. Here are some of the ways that we made this situation work.
I agreed to meet him halfway across the state. We now have a weekly ritual in which I pick the kids up at school at 3pm on Friday and we meet at an Applebee’s right off the turnpike, where he then takes them the rest of the way back to his place. We meet again on Sunday evenings around 7:30pm. This is an arrangement that requires compromise and flexibility on both our parts, but it is well worth it for the kids to spend time with us both.
I keep him abreast of everything that happens in their schools. He came to the back to school night and was so thrilled to see what a great public school they have in Newton. He also came to our son’s parent-teacher conference. Whenever I communicate with their teachers, I cc him on the email. It helps him feel connected to their daily lives and their educational progress.
He communicates with them via Skype at least one night a week. He also sends them text messages in the morning wishing them a good day. Regular communication for the non-custodial parent is very important.
Flexibility during the school breaks has also helped a lot. He has them during the school breaks, yet he is also allowing me to take them to Madrid this summer where I have been offered a teaching position for six weeks. He is sad to miss them but realizes that it is a great cultural opportunity for them.
It is never ideal when one co-parent has to move, but we have tried to make the best of it, and it is working. Each parent needs to realize that they will be giving up something for the greater good. My ex doesn’t see them as often as he did before, and I no longer have weekends with them, but we realize that this is the best way for us to raise our kids and stay gainfully employed. As with parenting in general, sometimes you have to make some sacrifices to make it work. And we still hold out hope that he will find a job here in Boston so that our family can be re-united again in two happy homes in the same city.