Research shows that sharing parenting time as close to equal as possible is better for the children. They adjust to their new circumstances better and enjoy close relationships with both parents. Does that mean that if you only have visitation and the other parent has physical custody of the kids most of the time that they won't adjust well? Of course not.
Even as a noncustodial parent, you can interact with your children and remain involved in their lives despite the fact that you don't have as much in-person time with them. You and the other parent may make a conscious choice to structure your parenting plan with one of you having the children more than the other does. This could be due to a variety of factors, including work schedules or the distance between your homes. Regardless, you and your children can still enjoy a close relationship.
Technology is your friend
When you can't be with your children, you can still be part of their day. Whether you and your former spouse decide to schedule phone calls or agree to a once-a-day call at some point before bedtime, daily contact would help. You could even make use of technological devices that allow you to see your children each day. This could make the separations easier for all of you.
You can ask about their day, answer homework questions or read a bedtime story. These things may seem small and insignificant, but to your child, and you, they could mean everything. Children need to know that you love them and that both of their parents want to be part of their lives. You don't always have to make grand gestures to make an impact.
Don't miss any in-person time
Issues do come up, but in the ordinary course of events, do your best to be there every time you have in-person visitation with your children. Your relationship only grows stronger when you let them know nothing is more important than your time with them. If you do have scheduling issues that you did not anticipate, hopefully, you can reschedule and let the children know yourself that you will make it up to them. This ensures that the other parent doesn't have to disappoint the kids on your behalf.
The key is communication
That effort will go a long way toward keeping the lines of communication open between you and your ex. Your personal relationship may have ended, but you will always be parents. Finding a way to communicate helps ensure that you can maintain regular contact with your children between visits.
Putting your parenting plan into action is only half the battle. First, it must be negotiated, drafted and executed. Then, it must go before the court for approval. To make sure that you cover all of the bases and will receive the court's approval, it might help to understand your rights, responsibilities and legal options.
Furthermore, if you and the other parent run into a problem that you can't resolve alone, it may help to have a legal advocate on your side.