It is not uncommon for even the most amicable divorces to end with lingering feelings of resentment. This makes child custody exchanges difficult, especially on the children. While custody exchanges are necessary, they can often become contentious when parents refuse to get along or harbor feelings like bitterness. Today, we go over how to keep your child custody exchanges civil.
Ensure you are organized beforehand
To limit stress and potentially upsetting your co-parent because you forgot to pack your child’s favorite toy or other item, pack a bag the day before you exchange your child. You could also write down a list of your child’s important items, favorite toys, healthy snack choices, and any medication he/she may need. It would be beneficial to speak to your child too to determine if he/she has an important test or school activity coming up that requires additional preparation.
Ensuring you are well organized and prepared also minimizes the amount of contact time you must spend with your co-parent.
Exchange your child in a public place
Exchanging your child in a public place reduces the chances of you and your co-parent having a disagreement or dispute. You must remain civil because you do not want to make a scene in front of other people. There are a variety of settings you can choose from to do your exchange, including:
- Daycare center
- Babysitter or nanny’s house
- Neutral public place (some examples include a coffee shop, mall, and/or restaurant)
Invite a third, neutral party to accompany you
If it makes sense, you could also invite a third party to join you during the custody exchange. It is important that this person be neutral as well as a mutual acquaintance that both parents trust. Another perk of having a third party with you is that you will have a witness who can provide an accurate account of what happened if things get heated.
Keep the exchange brief and amicable
Now is not the time to discuss a legal matter or argue with your co-parent. Instead, try to keep calm, give your co-parent your child’s items, and exchange your kid. If your co-parent attempts to bring up a subject that you know would start a dispute, kindly ask that you speak later with your attorney present.
Show up on time
One of the easiest ways to upset your co-parent is to show up late to a custody exchange. You would not want to have to wait on your ex-spouse for anything either so be courteous and plan to be on time.
Set a good example for your child by agreeing not to argue
You child looks to you as their example of how to show up in the world. While it is not always easy to remain calm around your co-parent, try your best to defer arguments for places like your lawyer’s office or the court. You can always agree to disagree or ask your ex-spouse to email you their concerns to bring up with your lawyer.
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