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An Unbudgeted but Needed Expense


As many of you know, Gymnast moved to Illinois with his dad last fall. And I haven’t seen him since our Thanksgiving trip to Texas. But I am dealing with this separation much better than I thought I ever would.

However, despite continued requests for his dad to send him for a visit, per the agreement when this happened, it has not happened. So I bit the bullet this past week and purchased a round trip airline ticket for Gymnast to come for his Spring Break. (I cleared it with him and his dad before making the purchase.)

$355!! Ouch! I don’t know how families who live long distance all the time do this.

I am excited to see him and have a little down time with him. The three oldest will still be in school. (Their Spring Break is the following week, and we will be traveling to Texas.)

We haven’t decided what will happen next school year when he begins high school. I am inclined to let him choose with the caveat that he commit. I think staying in a stable school environment is best, especially for the important high school years. We will see what happens.

Anyone else gone through a change in physical custody with their child during the turbulent teenage years? Any words of wisdom?

I maintain full legal custody at this point, but we agreed to this trial year per his request. He will be 14 years old this summer, and I believe old enough to decide for himself with clear expectations set by his dad and I. But sometimes it really sucks being a parent, not sure if you are making the right decision for the long run. Really wish I had a time machine right now.

I’ve asked his dad to help pay for this plane ticket. He says he will send $100, we will see if that really happens. I continue to pay for Gymnast phone bill. (Mostly because I do not want to lose touch and this way I make sure I have a way to reach him.) But I’ve held out in sending any additional monies despite his repeated requests. He has to learn to live with his dad’s rules and standards if he is going to live there.

Divorce really sucks. As much as it was needed. I really hate it for my kids, especially in this long distance situation.



  • Reply Laura |

    Do you have a written, legal document that outlines visits and who pays for them? You shouldn’t have to ask him to help pay for the ticket and just hope he does.

    Good call not sending any extra money. You can’t afford it, and Dad needs to step up for once.

  • Reply Matt |

    You have had tough choices to make.
    On one hand, you pay for things you shouldn’t be paying alone, like phone bills and airfare.
    On the other hand, you have a strong desire to stay in contact via phone and in person.

    To be hard and fast with funds but risk losing access or contact with your remote child is possibly one of the worst choices to have to make.

    I would press hard for funds from Dad to offset your costs, but know that your decisions to spend the money anyway are funds well worth it.

  • Reply Walnut |

    A huge part of budgeting is spending your money on the things you value most and saving your money on things that are just filler. This plane ticket is money well spent on your highest priorities- your kids!

  • Reply tpol1 |

    I think that is money well spent.
    I am concerned on another thing though. In my country the parent who has custody is responsible for the kid so, God forbid something happens while the child is with the other parent, you will still be responsible. In here, if you are letting the other parent take care of the child long term like in your case, you must let the authorities know about that decision and there should be some legal arrangement. It is a fact that teenagers tend to get into trouble like underage drinking, trying substances, driving without a license and etc. I do not know how this works in your country but I would strongly recommend to check this out.

  • Reply Akasha |

    I’m going through exactly this, and it’s a huge part of why I’m blogging. My daughter is in 6th grade, and we have been divorced since she was 2. We do not live long distance, though. She lives with her father in just the next town over. We made this custody agreement in July. It is mostly because I am living at home again, and my parents’ house is not a healthy environment for a child.
    My daughter and I have always been close, and this separation has actually made us closer. Her stepmother has a massive stick shoved up there and is strict about a lot of things, so my daughter feels relieved enough with me to tell me everything. I get her every other weekend and every other M-W. It’s not ideal, but we should be thankful it isn’t worse.
    I deal with it by paying a lot of attention to her when she’s with me. I work constantly when she’s with her father so I can take off when she’s with me. I am with you on the phone thing. I just ordered a second line with an upgraded phone for myself, and she will get my old one. I’m in the same boat as you with the exception of distance. Hang in there, it will get better ?

So, what do you think ?