You know divorce is going to get complicated. You want to stay involved with the kids, but you work a lot. So does your spouse. You both travel. You have demands on your time.
Some of these issues are the same reasons you decided to get divorced in the first place. You both felt it was better to split up. Now you know that, no matter how the time with the kids gets divided, you won't see them as much as you want to. It's just a reality of the life you live.
Maybe you're even planning a move. You've lived in Washington for years, but your clients are mostly in California. You're thinking of heading down the coast, but you don't want your spouse to get custody and cut you off from the kids for good. At the same time, flying back and forth every week doesn't make a lot of financial sense.
Divorce can get tricky
You have to balance a lot of schedules. It's not always as easy as the movies sometimes make it seem, with the kids happily going from one house to the other and staying involved with both parents.
One tool that may help is virtual visitation. You can use it to supplement physical visitation so that you stay in contact, no matter where you are.
For instance, maybe you can't come by and see the kids every weekend. Instead, you set up a Skype date with them every Saturday. You all get a chance to chat and catch up. No, you're not sitting in the living room together, but you still get to connect. You know what's going on in their lives.
Or, maybe you set up a schedule where you and the kids are pen pals. Every other day, you just shoot off a quick email message. You always know what's going on at school and in their social lives, even when you miss those events.
Plus, when the kids do come and stay with you in California, your spouse can use the same virtual visitation options -- webcams, email, text messages, FaceTime and all the rest -- to stay in touch while they're away. Neither of you has to face utter silence and isolation just because you can't be there in person.
Is this ideal? No. You'd rather see the kids in real life, and you still do it as much as possible. You fight for your legal rights to make decisions for the children and to spend quality time with them.
But divorce isn't ideal. There are realistic challenges that you can't get around by wishing things were easier. Instead of wishing, it pays to know about all of the options you have to help.