This 20 part series tracks what Judges consider when making child custody determinations to help parents effectively present their case.
Factor #5: The geographic viability of the visitation schedule, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the visitation schedule.
School age children have the important need to get their homework done. A child needs quiet time to be able to do his or her homework. Therefore the Court must consider whether the child will have adequate time from the time that he or she gets home to be able to effectively to his or her homework. If the child’s school is close to both parents this can work well; however, if the parents do not live close to each other after a divorce or separation and the child has to be driven a lengthy time to get to one parent’s house, this could interfere with the child’s ability to do his or her homework.
Many well rounded children are actively involved in extracurricular activities such as soccer, baseball, singing, dancing, and band. Depending of the proximity of how close the parents reside to each other, it may interfere with one parent’s ability to pick up the child from school and get the child to his or her extracurricular activity.
If a parent lives far away from the child’s school, it may not be in the child’s best interest to have to wake up two hours earlier to be able to drive the far distance to get to school in the morning.
Parents often move after a divorce or separation. When preparing for your contested child custody case, consider how far your you and your child’s other parent lives from the child’s school and established activities as well as from each other and how it may affect your particular child’s needs. Make sure also to consider the time of day that your child will be travelling for timeshare (commonly referred to as visitation) exchanges.
This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child. Child custody plans can accommodate for long-distance visitation.
Please read Factors Judges Consider for Child Custody Determinations – Parts 1 to 4.