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How to keep custody exchanges low-key

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | FAMILY LAW - Child Custody

In high-conflict divorces involving children, it can be difficult to keep your emotions in check – but it’s essential during custody exchanges to keep the tension dialed back as much as possible. 

How do you do that when you and your co-parent can’t stand the sight of each other at the moment? Here are some suggestions:

1. Get a detailed schedule in place

A clear, ironclad custody schedule that outlines the times, locations and methods of exchange can reduce the potential for conflict.

2. Establish a clear method of communication

You want to curtail as much face-to-face communication as possible during these exchanges – so decide how important information will be conveyed. Text messages, emails or a parenting app are all good options, and written communication leaves less room for misunderstandings.

3. Pick a neutral exchange point

When there’s a lot of conflict, having your co-parent come to your door can be intimidating for them and feel invasive to you (and vice-versa, if you go to theirs). It’s always better to do the exchange in a public place in the presence of others, such as a parking lot outside of a police station. 

4. Take along a neutral party

The presence of another adult (who could later testify in court) can encourage a hostile co-parent to be on their best behavior during custody exchanges. Just make sure that you take someone who won’t inflame the situation further. It’s no good, for example, to take your sister with you to a custody exchange when you know that she and your spouse hate each other.

Navigating custody exchanges in high-conflict divorces requires a lot of patience, communication and a commitment to the well-being of your children. Seeking professional support from the start can make it easier and give you the resources you need to get through this challenging time.