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Putting kids first: How to manage out-of-state parenting

Divorce can be hard enough to begin with, though many families in Texas know all too well how especially tough it can be when children are involved. Most parents want whatever is best for their children and will strive to ensure that their kids' needs are put ahead of their own. However, that can be difficult to do even in the best of circumstances. If one spouse has to move away for any reason, it can make shared or joint custody difficult to manage. Though it may be necessary, out-of-state parenting can have adverse effects on children, as a recent interview with a teenage boy whose parents are divorced demonstrates.

The parents divorced when he was 4, and his mother eventually moved out of state. The parents shared custody, with the boy going to see his mother for holidays and during the summer. Though he assured the interviewer that he loved both of his parents, he conceded that he struggled with the differing values and rules that each of his parents held, as well as having to leave his friends and other relatives at the home he had with his father. Even at his young age, he recognized that his life would be easier if his parents lived closer together.

Experts agree that sometimes it is necessary that one parent lives in a different state than the other. Some co-parenting agreements work best with a great deal of communication -- cooperative co-parenting -- while others do better with very little extended contact -- parallel co-parenting. Either method requires empathy and patience to best put children first. Parents need to remember that kids desire a sense of family, and though they can have that after divorce, it is not unreasonable for a child to grieve the loss of their original family. The most important thing is that children are loved and cared for by anyone parenting them.

Those parents who are considering divorce can make the choice to fight together for whatever is best for their children. Out-of-state parenting may be tricky to manage and a parent would do well to consult a legal professional here in Texas who has experience handling these types of custody arrangements. It might be the best way to ensure that kids are properly taken care of and feel secure in any new family arrangements.

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