Improved Co-Parenting Begins with Child Custody Exchanges
At the Law Office of Denise Miller, our divorce attorney in Stuart, Florida understands just how difficult the first few months of life after a divorce can be — especially when you share custody of your children with your ex-spouse.
Even if your divorce was amicable, the reasons you divorced still exist. And as both parents process those emotions and behaviors, feelings of resentment can linger well after the divorce agreement has been signed.
One fact will remain, no matter your or your ex’s position on the divorce: You are going to have to co-parent together going forward, which will require custody exchanges for years to come.
Here are a few tips on keeping those exchanges and interactions cooperative, so your kids do not feel as though they are caught in the middle of a contentious swap each time they change houses.
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Proactively Prepare for the Custody Exchange
Custody exchanges require a multitude of preparation, especially in the beginning, before both houses are fully equipped for each kid’s unique needs.
Proactively preparing for the exchange may mean something different for each parent but could include packing important items your kids will need while they are away.
This may include clothes, school work, medications, and their favorite toy, stuffed animal, or security blanket.
In the beginning, it may be helpful to create a list of items they need, and possibly even an invitation to the other parent to amend the list, if they find something should be added.
When you double-check all items before the kids’ departure, it will minimize the contact between you and your ex-spouse, which makes the swap less stressful.
Consider a Public Custody Exchange
Divorced couples should create boundaries that will allow them to independently grow. That could mean avoiding each other’s personal spaces.
Custody exchanges in public places make sense for everyone, even if you are not worried about your ex starting an argument or making a scene.
Public exchanges allow for a quick swap that is easier for everyone involved, including the children.
Consider having the other parent pick the kids up from daycare or school when it is their day to keep them. You can drop them off in the morning with everything they need and confirm the pick-up via text or through a shared co-parenting app later in the day.
If you would prefer to hand off the kids in person, choose a neutral public place, like a restaurant or coffee shop, so the exchange is cordial. You and the kids can even grab a bite before their send off.
If Things are Contentious, Bring a Third Party
Everyone handles their divorce and custody agreements differently, and sometimes it is difficult for parents to be the best version of themselves. If that is true for your ex-spouse, and custody exchanges become volatile, consider bringing a mutual acquaintance that both parents trust to tag along.
Having a third-party there may lighten the exchange, and if not, and the mood becomes unstable, you will have a witness who can provide an accurate account of the events that occurred.
If you have questions about how a divorce will affect your future with your kids, contact our experienced Stuart family law attorney in Martin County at the Law Office of Denise Miller today by calling (772) 934-6007 to discuss your circumstances and learn more about your child custody rights and options.