The legal battle for who would get primary visitation with your child was contentious and full of conflict. Now that the divorce is over and you and your co-parent must exchange the child for visitation, you have noticed a pattern of difficult experiences that you would like to put to an end. What can you do to ensure your child is safe and secure, and put an end to all the fighting between you and your ex-spouse?
First, make sure that the language in your parenting plan agreement is clear regarding the visitation schedule. Allow a grace period for traffic jams and getting caught late at work. If you are involved in a high-conflict situation where the two of you are unable to be in one another’s presence without a fight breaking out, you might consider conducting the exchange at a neutral location halfway between your homes in a public location.
Second, be sure that each party is clear on the time and the place where your children should be picked up or dropped off, and that whichever of you has your children will call ahead if you are running late or are unable to show up. Standing around waiting with your child who is eager (or maybe not so eager) to see their other parent and they are hours late or never show up at all not only wastes your time, but it causes unnecessary upset for your child.
Quick tips for avoiding conflict
Here are some things that you can do on your end to avoid contributing to the conflict that can occur with the exchange of the children for parenting time visits:
- Always show up on time to pick up your children, or to drop them off with their other parent.
- If your co-parent is behind on child support payments, do not bring this up during the exchange or in front of the children.
- Do not bring a new romantic partner with you to the exchange, which could upset your co-parent and add unnecessary conflict to an already tense situation.
- Consider meeting in a public place if pick-ups/drop-offs at home are too difficult or painful.
- Do not use the children to carry messages back and forth between you.
- Be as flexible as possible about rescheduling parenting time visits for work obligations, family vacations and other obligations.
If you are facing difficulties with your parenting time exchanges, here are some ideas for dealing with them:
- Log the details about every exchange. Keep track of the date and time agreed upon, when they showed up on time, when they were late or did not show at all.
- Define the problem in writing.
- Document each time a negative confrontation occurs during a custody exchange.
- Work with your family law attorney to resolve the problems you have defined.
At Shepherd and Associates, P.C., we want to help you to resolve your child custody conflicts in a way that honors the best interest of the child. Our Maryville family law attorneys are here to protect your interests throughout the divorce process and beyond. You are welcome to call our office to schedule a consultation by calling 865-225-9655 or completing our contact form now.