Dropping off or picking up your child from their other parent during child custody exchanges can be stressful for all parties — you, your ex, and your child. Here are five tips to help avoid as much drama as possible and make your child custody exchange easier on everyone:
Don’t Be Late
Arriving on time to custody exchanges helps keep the peace. If tensions are already high, showing up late may only make things worse. If the other parent gets upset, it could have an adverse effect on the child as well. Try to leave early to ensure that you get to the pick location on time, and always give the same kind of respect you’d expect to be shown from your child’s other parent.
Do Bring Someone With You
If you and your child’s other parent fight every time you see each other, bring a neutral third party to your exchange to encourage both parties to be civil. Additionally, this person can serve as a witness in the event that something goes wrong. Do not bring a new romantic partner; instead, opt for a friend or family member.
Don’t Make Last Minute Changes
Changing the custody schedule, especially at the last minute, disrupts everyone’s plans. Even if it seems like a small change, like a new drop-off location, for example, it could make things difficult for the other parent if they have not planned for it ahead of time. This could lead to them getting upset, which in return brings on more stress for the child.
Do Exchanges in Public Places
When deciding where to exchange custody, always choose a public place. The grocery store, mall, or local park are all great locations for custody exchanges. Public locations encourage better behavior in both parents, as well as provides witnesses. If you cannot be civil while facing your child’s other parent, consider having the exchange take place at your child’s school or day-care. Doing this allows parents to avoid each other altogether.
Don’t Come Unprepared
Your children should have everything they will need during their time with the other parent at the time of the exchange. Don’t create added stress by forgetting any items they need like homework, clothes, medicine, sports equipment, etc. You do not want to receive an angry phone call or text from your ex asking where your child’s medicine is when they need it right away.
There are several ways you can make child custody exchanges drama-free and less stressful. Always remember to do what works best for you, your family, and most importantly, your child.