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Tips for making custody exchanges less stressful

After a divorce, splitting time with your children can be complicated. There can be challenges keeping a schedule, and parents can be sad to leave their children, who can also be upset. Further, parents may be anxious about seeing each other.

All this can make custody exchanges tense and stressful. However, there are some steps you can take to make things easier for you and your kids when it comes time for them to say goodbye to one parent and hello to the other.

Be on time

Being late or failing to show up is perhaps the easiest way to create conflict and tension. Parents who do not show up where and when they are supposed to can throw the other person’s schedule off. A child can be agitated, as well. Further, repeated violations of a parenting plan could lead to penalties for denying parenting time.

As such, parents should make every effort to be on time for custody exchanges. If you will be late or need to reschedule, contact the other parent as soon as possible to let them know. 

Make a packing list

Moving children between homes can be a little hectic. And it is not unusual for a child to leave something at one house that he or she needs at the other. Forgetting items can result in temper tantrums, problems with schoolwork and inconvenience for parents.

Avoid this by making a packing list. Whether you are dropping your child off or picking your child up, run through the list before parents go their separate ways.

Keep interactions brief

Seeing an ex can be unpleasant and upsetting. And in these situations, parents can wind up getting in arguments when someone does or says the wrong thing. 

To minimize the risk of fighting in front of a child, keep exchanges as brief as possible. You might even consider staying in your own cars or coordinating exchanges to allow one parent to drop children off somewhere, like for school, while the other parent picks them up.

Act quickly to address problems

If conflicts do arise or if a child’s safety is in jeopardy during an exchange, it is crucial to act quickly by consulting your lawyer, seeking enforcement measures or alerting the authorities. Doing so immediately can protect a child and perhaps initiate changes to parenting time to better meet the needs of a child and the parents.

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