Custody exchanges are often tricky, in part because they require you and your ex to see each other so frequently. As hard as it can be on you, it’s also probably challenging for your children. Needing to constantly move between houses and feeling limited in their ability to interact with their parents can be very difficult for children.
Thankfully, there are few things that you and your ex can do to make each of your custody exchanges a little bit easier for the kids.
Keep the actual exchange as quick as possible
While it can be more convenient for parents to discuss things face-to-face, doing so can backfire on them, conversations can quickly turn ugly, complicating the custody exchange.
It’s usually best for you to say goodbye to your children. You can then send your ex an email or direct message through your parenting app to address other information later. Having written documentation of adjustments and other things that you two discuss will protect you should you want to pursue a custody plan modification in the future.
Confirm that your child has their important items
Maybe your son or daughter has an older phone with a hard-to-find charger. Perhaps they have prescription medication or an orthodontic appliance that they must utilize daily. They might just have a teddy bear or blanket that they have trouble sleeping without.
You and your ex should be aware of the go-to items that make your child feel comfortable and safe. You should ensure that your child has everything that they need when preparing for an exchange. Parents should also confirm their co-parent’s return of those critical items before leaving the exchange site.
Keep your emotions positive and the conversation light
Whether you are about to drop your kids off with your ex or have just picked them up, make sure that you use positive language when discussing their time with your co-parent. Your child may begin struggling with transitions if they start to associate custody exchanges with getting grilled for details, or they find that you always have something negative to say about your co-parent.
You will make shared custody or visitation easier for you, your kids and your ex by keeping your mood and behavior under control.