Custody exchanges are often the only time spouses who are getting divorced or who have already divorced will see each other outside of a courtroom or mediation center. Courts and mediation centers can lead the conversation so both parties stay focused on resolving their divorce or child custody case. During custody handoffs, there is usually not anyone present to be “in charge” of the situation. The parents must cooperate to keep custody handoffs smooth and civil on their own. This can be difficult, especially for those going through a high-conflict divorce. Your attorney can help you come up with an individualized plan to help your custody exchanges go well.
Ways to Keep Custody Exchanges Friendly
One of the things that often goes wrong during custody exchanges is that the parents begin to argue. This can be upsetting for both adults, but also for the children involved. Some ways to prevent conflict during custody exchanges include:
- Make agreements - If you know what topics or actions are likely to provoke a fight, agree beforehand to avoid those triggers. Your attorney can help you determine what other agreements might be necessary.
- Be there, and be there on time - One of the biggest mistakes parents make is failing to show up for a scheduled custody exchange, or arriving significantly late. It is okay if you are delayed a few minutes once or twice, but it is important to respect the parenting time plan.
- Focus on the children - Custody exchanges are a good time for parents to catch each other up on what the children have been doing. Parents can go over their child’s upcoming schedule for extracurriculars or share a fun activity they did. Keeping the conversation focused on the child means that the parents are less likely to start arguing.
Are Custody Exchanges Avoidable?
In certain situations, custody exchanges are not safe for one parent, or unsupervised visitation is not safe for the child. Courts sometimes use what is called “supervised visitation.” This means that the parent needing supervision can only see the child either in a designated visitation center or sometimes while a qualified adult is present. When supervised visitation is used, the parents will generally not need to come face to face.
If you and the other parent are simply not doing well with custody exchanges, there are options. You can agree to have a designated adult be the one to transport the child back and forth. Older children may be able to be dropped off in a safe place to wait for the other parent. Or, each parent can pick their child up from school when it is their turn for parenting time.
Contact a Wheaton, IL, Child Custody Attorney
Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help parents find creative solutions to keep their custody exchanges seamless. Our dedicated DuPage County, IL, child custody lawyers will work with you to find a personalized solution. Contact us at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.