When you get divorced or you split up from your child’s other parent, it seems like life becomes a never-ending list of unpleasant things to do. One of those tasks is custody exchanges. For many parents, they become a major source of anxiety, ruining entire hours or days before the actual exchange. With a little bit of planning, though, you can keep custody exchanges civil. They might never be your favorite part of the week, but they can at least stop being the worst part of your week.
Wondering how you can better handle your custody issues and family law concerns? We’re here to help. Call Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short at 334-821-3892 to schedule a consultation right away.
Choose a Neutral Location
A neutral location is the best place to do a custody exchange. It might feel more convenient to pick up at the other parent’s house, but that’s likely an emotionally charged place that you really don’t want to visit. Furthermore, if you do exchanges at home, you run the risk of the child not being ready to go. Then you’re stuck awkwardly standing around with your ex-spouse while your child packs up. Instead of putting yourself through this every week, choose a local coffee shop, gas station, or park-and-go lot to do exchanges.
Avoid Direct Contact if Necessary
If you and your ex-partner still find yourself getting into unnecessary fights at a neutral location, it might be best to avoid any direct contact during child custody exchanges. This might be a permanent solution, or it might be one you try temporarily until the sting of the divorce wears off a bit more.
How does this work? You simply schedule custody exchanges around daycare or school pickup times. On the day you are set to switch custody, one party drops the child off at school or daycare. The other party picks them up from daycare and begins their parenting time that way. The child gets where they need to go without the parents ever having to exchange words.
Be Ready to Go Ahead of Time
Kids aren’t always known for being timely, so you may have to help them when it comes time to get ready for a custody exchange. At least an hour before you have to switch off, make sure your child has everything packed that they need for their time at their other parent’s house. Double-check for any missing homework assignments, musical instruments, or school books that you would otherwise have to drop off. This helps you avoid arriving late and causing friction.
Make a Pact to Avoid Custody or Parenting Discussions at Exchange Times
This is a good tip if you and your ex-partner can agree on it. Both have to agree that child custody exchanges are not the time to bring up parenting concerns, previous disagreements, or any misunderstandings regarding the schedule. If you have something you want to discuss, you have to do it at a time when the child is not around and when you have time to talk it out. When custody exchanges are only exchanges, and not the opportunity for a possible fight, you’ll notice your anxiety decreasing.
Plan Something to Do Immediately After Your Custody Exchange
Child custody exchanges are often difficult because of the sense of loss that comes after handing your child over. Instead, try to make custody exchanges just another part of your day. Schedule something to look forward to after a custody exchange. This keeps you from drawing out the handoff and getting too emotional when saying goodbye to your child. It could be a dinner out with friends, getting coffee and browsing the local bookstore, or simply ordering takeout and watching your favorite show on your couch. Create a routine that you can look forward to.
Discuss Your Family Law Needs with Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short
Coparenting can be a challenge, but it’s easier when you have clear boundaries set up and a strong court order backing you up. We can help you as you navigate this new normal. Find out how we can help by calling our team at 334-821-3892 or filling out our .