Written By: Josh Lowell ~
Divorces can be stressful. Allowing your distrust and anger to swell during custody exchanges might lead to additional fights, tension, and court battles. Your Parenting Plan specifically outlines how the children should be transferred, and if there are any specific requirements, you should review the Court Order for explicit instructions. Maintaining civility in these exchanges is often paramount for curating your relationship with the children but also for coparenting and even legal credibility.
Here are five tips to help make your exchanges easier:
- Avoid Contact with Your Ex - Often, the easiest way to reduce conflict in exchanges is by removing the impetus completely. If you can craft a Parenting Plan that allows for transitions at school or day care instead of directly with your ex-partner, time and stress will be reduced. This might not always be possible during holidays or summers, but minimizing contact is a perfect strategy for an otherwise high conflict scenario.
- The Separation is in the Preparation - Expediting the transition process is key to reducing time, stress, and conflict. If you are exchanging custody of two children, then ensure that both children are ready to go at the appropriate time. If you are meeting at another location, take traffic and travel time into account. Have bags packed with everything necessary ready to go. The more prepared you are for the exchange the less chance of conflict.
- Meet in Public - If you are concerned about verbal or physical outbursts, meeting at your home for exchanges might not be the best idea. Work with your attorney or the Court to allow transitions at public spaces. Oftentimes, libraries or even police stations make nice, public parking lots where children can be exchanged without too much of a fuss.
- Consider Bringing a Witness - The he-said-she-said is an impossible situation to win. If you and your ex-partner are lacking in communication, bringing a witness to exchanges might be a good idea. Not only will that extra person be a deterrent to poor behavior but having an extra set of eyes and ears will come in handy in the event conflict arises and litigation is necessary.
- Avoid Telephone Communication - Speaking on the phone can lead to verbal altercations. Text messages might be quick, but they can lead to thoughtless outbursts. Programs like Our Family Wizard and Talking Parents are available to minimize and organize parental communications. While these services come at a price, the available services are plentiful and can reduce conflict.
If your divorce is struggling with conflict and communication, working with an attorney to create structure for your Parenting Plan is a great plan of action. At the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, PS, our experienced family law attorneys are ready and available to litigate your divorce. Call today for a free case evaluation.