Sharing custody of your child with another parent can be enormously upsetting, particularly if you two do not get along.
Even the few minutes you may spend with the other parent during custody exchanges can turn sour very quickly and be very tense. However, there are some ways you can make this situation a little easier and a little less stressful for you and your children.
- Stay focused on what your child is feeling: While it may feel good to say something hurtful or lash out on an ex during custody exchanges, keeping in mind the fact that your kids are right there watching you can help you avoid fighting. Children are impressionable and they are already adjusting to the fact that they are leaving one parent to spend time with the other; fighting will only make this situation worse.
- Meet in public, if necessary: Exchanging custody at each other’s homes can be difficult for parents for many reasons. It may be inconvenient or too difficult to be back at a home where you no longer live. Picking a public place can alleviate some of these challenges. In fact, some areas have designated Safe Exchange Zones that are monitored, well-lit and centrally located, which can be ideal for custody exchanges.
- Be on time: Being late to a pick up or drop off can make an already-stressful situation even worse. Showing up late can send the message that you don’t value the other person’s time or that you don’t care about the custody schedule.
- Communicate: If you are going to be late or if you need to change where an exchange happens, telling the other person as soon as possible can help you minimize conflict and avoid unnecessary delays.
If custody exchanges are proving to be difficult and contentious, you may want to consider these tips. If the situation doesn’t improve, it may be necessary to take more aggressive action with the help of your attorney. Whatever you do, it can be important to understand that starting or ending your parenting time with your child on the right foot and in a more positive frame of mind can provide considerable relief for you and your child.