If you share custody of your children with a co-parent, you may have a history of conflict. After all, your marriage did not work out for some very legitimate reasons. Still, if you do not want to bring stress to your custody exchange, you must think proactively about your hand-off.
A custody exchange occurs when co-parents transfer the children at the end of parenting time. Here are four tips for making the hand-off as low-stress as possible.
- Include custody exchanges in your parenting plan
A comprehensive parenting plan sets guidelines for each co-parent to follow. A legally binding document, the parenting plan may cover a variety of topics, including parental responsibilities and child care parameters. Adding a provision that addresses when and how custody hand-offs happen is a good idea.
- Choose an ideal location for the exchange
The location of the custody exchange may be a source of disagreement for you and your former spouse. Consequently, choosing the right location is essential for minimizing potential discord. While a lighted, public space probably makes sense, you may want to avoid exchanging the children at either parent’s home.
- Prepare the children for the hand-off
Even though your children are likely eventually to adjust to your post-divorce family, they may never enjoy the custody exchange. Nonetheless, you can make the process easier for everyone by ensuring they are ready to go. Packing belongings in advance, feeding them and dressing them appropriately are usually effective strategies.
- Arrive a few minutes early
Traffic, road construction and weather conditions can put anyone behind schedule. Yet, if you arrive late, your children’s co-parent may not be happy. Leave early enough to reach the hand-off location a bit early. If you cannot be on time, communicate with your children’s co-parent as soon as possible.
You want your kids to thrive after your divorce. While there are many ways to accomplish this objective, minimizing conflict with your former spouse is probably a wise approach. Accordingly, you should put some effort into promoting low-stress custody hand-offs.