Custody battles are draining on everyone involved, and resolutions are often not reached quickly or easily. When a custody schedule is finally reached, the custody exchanges are also often a point of stress for all parties. Below are some tips so to help ease that tension.
Be on Time
One of the easiest ways to keep the peace is to arrive on time for the custody exchange. It’s a simple sign of respect for the other party’s time, and it will impact your ability to co-parent peacefully. If you show up late, it may anger the other party, and it may be used against you in any future custody hearings. Additionally, if you are on time, it’s more likely that the other party will be on time, allowing for each parent to get their share of parenting time without conflict.
Make sure that you plan ahead before leaving; check the traffic, have your child’s belongings packed and ready to go, and plan to communicate if any unforeseeable circumstances would make you late.
Bring a Neutral Third-Party
Being around an ex can be awkward and nerve-wracking, and most people find it helpful to bring someone else along during the custody exchanges. This party can serve multiple functions; witness, mediator, security. But choose your company wisely, and don’t bring anyone that would intentionally anger your ex. New romantic partners or people that you know your ex doesn’t get along with are not true neutral third parties and will not help keep the peace.
Meet in a Public Location
Gas stations, police stations, restaurant parking lots, schools, and daycares are often great locations for custody exchanges. Many of these locations are equipped with security cameras that may bolster your account if anything goes wrong. Additionally, there are often other people around that can act as witnesses.
Schools and daycares can serve an additional purpose by cutting out interaction with your ex entirely. If you have the ability to have your ex pick up your child from school if you’ve dropped them off in the morning (or vice versa), you can ensure that you don’t have to see them while also ensuring your child is safely picked up or dropped off at school.
Discuss Changes in Advance
While you should always make it a priority to respect the custody schedule that’s been put in place and be on time for exchanges, it’s important to remember that life happens. Especially when dealing with children, changes to a custody exchange can often occur. To the extent that you can communicate any changes with your ex, make sure that you allow enough time for them to make any changes to their schedule as well. The more that you are willing to be flexible and respectful, the more likely it is that they will reciprocate.
Don’t Discuss Conflict With Child
Let your child be a child. It’s not fair for your child to hear your opinions about your ex. Despite how you may feel, your ex is still their parent, and they still love them. Your child should not act as a messenger for you to your ex either. If there is something that needs to be communicated, find a way to do it when your child is not present, or cannot hear it.