Q: After my husband and his ex split, she moved just far enough away to make it difficult for my husband to see his two kids. His ex quickly moved in with another man and has encouraged this guy to actively participate. The kids call him Daddy, which drives my husband crazy, and the ex is doing everything she can to cut my husband out of the kids’ lives. A particular irritant is that we have not seen a report card in two years. What’s good ex-etiquette?

A: There’s a lot going on here, so we’re going to start with the most obvious: Good ex-etiquette begins with putting the kids first — and rarely is that done by moving away. Although wanting a new start after a breakup is certainly understandable, it’s pretty selfish if done without taking into consideration how that move will impact the kids’ relationship with their other parent. Complicate that with a common, though not necessarily correct, belief that once a parent moves away it’s the responsibility of the parent who has stayed behind to figure out how to see the kids, and you have the makings of a first class divorce war.

Some background: Although this is changing, most of us are raised to believe that the best kind of family is a mommy and a daddy and two point how many children … and therefore once there’s a breakup and guilt sets in, it’s not uncommon for some parents to try to re-create that “best kind of family” by re-coupling, getting the new parent figure involved and actively acing out the other parent. This is often done quite subtly. Parents may suggest their child call the new partner Mommy or Daddy and refer to the bioparent by their first name. Or, the new partner becomes the coach for the child’s Little League games while the other parent isn’t informed about the extracurricular activities. Information becomes power, and whoever knows the most about the child is the best parent. Parents control that power by withholding information about their child.

The truth is, your child will be healthier if he or she retains a loving relationship with both parents after a break — and with the new stepparent as well. Therefore, the more information about the child that a parent shares, the better parent he or she is.

What this all boils down to is that your husband has a right to see the kids on a regular basis. Unfortunately, how often depends on how far away mom has chosen to move — but he can see them and regular contact is important.

Finally, dad does not have to depend on mom to send report cards. Dad probably has joint legal custody. He can call the school, introduce himself to the teacher by phone, and have the teacher send all school info directly to him by email. Middle schools and high schools have online portals where parents can monitor their child’s progress. Skype is also an excellent tool to aid in long-distance parenting. Call the kids!

Jann Blackstone-Ford and her husband’s ex-wife, Sharyl Jupe, authors of “Ex-Etiquette for Parents,” are the founders of Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com). Reach them at: