Protecting What Matters Most

5 ways to help your custody exchange run smoothly

While some marriages end on peaceful terms, many more seem to end in heated debates. These argumentative, contested divorces commonly leave all parties with hurt feelings and negative emotions toward their exes. Unfortunately, this negativity can infect your post-divorce life. When it begins to impact the events centered on your child, however, you must take steps to counteract whatever anger you might be experiencing.

Here are five ways you can work toward smoothing out a potentially rocky child custody exchange:

  • Follow the original plan: You and your ex likely worked hard to develop a parenting plan during the divorce process. These compromises likely laid out locations, times, dates and a holiday schedule. It is better to plan ahead and stick to the schedule. Unnecessary delays and last-minute changes can dramatically increase the tension of the meet.
  • Be mindful of your schedule: New York residents must always be mindful of the weather and traffic. From a torrential downpour during the spring to white-out conditions in the winter, it is wise to prepare for what could potentially cause a delay. Additionally, take a moment to check traffic on the news, your computer or a phone app so you can account for road construction or an accident.
  • Prepare your child’s things: Under the rubric of “plan ahead,” it might also be wise to have your child’s things ready. From clothes and homework to a favorite toy or video game, you can help your punctuality by thinking ahead.
  • Avoid having private discussions in front of the child: At the custody exchange, you will likely have to exchange numerous bits of information from discipline to upcoming vacations and beyond. When possible, it is wise to have these discussions away from the child as they might turn into debates. When you allow your child to be involved in these discussions, he or she might feel torn between the parents and somehow responsible for their anger.
  • Avoid bringing a new partner to the exchange: Odds are that you will find a new partner in your post-divorce life. You should avoid bringing this individual to the child custody exchange, however, as this could easily become an inciting event. Seeing their role replaced could be painful to your ex, and spark numerous unrelated disputes during the exchange.

A tense child custody exchange can be uncomfortable for all involved. It is wise to take steps necessary to alleviate any unnecessary stress and potential arguments from the proceeding. Follow these tips and plan ahead to make the exchange run as smoothly as possible.

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