Even though many marriages end on good terms, just as many end with bitter arguments and hurt feelings. When the ex-spouses find it hard to work together toward a common goal, it can have a negative effect on numerous shared responsibilities. Custody exchange, for example, can become a turbulent, emotional time for all parties involved.
While the child custody exchange is a necessary activity for divorced parents, bringing these individuals together can be a traumatic experience for the child. This can come up for several reasons, including:
- The presence of a new love interest at either parents’ home when the exchange happens
- Personal arguments over property division that continue post-divorce
- The location of the exchange is personally disruptive, and it would be easier to meet at a place equidistant from both parents
For these, and countless other reasons, divorced parents often choose to select a neutral location to complete the exchange. Even though every situation is unique, there are common examples of neutral exchange locations, including:
- The child’s school: It is common for divorced parents to either exchange at the school or split responsibilities such as one parent drops the child off and the other parent picks the child up.
- Fast food restaurant: While they might not sit and eat dinner as a family, many divorced parents choose to perform the custody exchange in a local restaurant to prevent arguments or heated emotions that might accompany a more personal location.
- Mall food court: Like the previous point, many divorced parents choose a mall food court for the exchange giving them a chance to share information (grades, homework, disciplinary action, bills) in a neutral, public place.
- Public park: While it might not work under all weather conditions, many people elect to complete the custody exchange in a public park. The wide-open spaces and numerous onlookers often quell the possibility of a heated verbal exchange.
- Government building: A quick search on your city or county’s website might highlight a list of custody exchange locations such as city hall or a police precinct.
Even if these topics are not addressed in the creation of a parenting plan, it is wise to identify a potential problem early. A neutral exchange location could alleviate stress and reduce the possibility of harmful arguments.