Sharing custody of your child is not easy, particularly if the person with whom you share custody is someone you don't even like. When there are negative emotions between parents, even brief interactions have the potential to turn into bitter fights. This is why many parents across Florida find themselves dreading custody exchanges.
During exchanges, there are already powerful emotions you might have when it comes to seeing or saying goodbye to your child. Add to that mix the fact that you don't want to see or interact with an ex, and the exchange of custody can become a serious problem.
In an effort to make these situations a little easier on you as well as your children, it can be wise to keep in mind some basic dos and don'ts of exchanging custody.
- Be on time
- Keep places and timing consistent
- Try to stay positive
- Meet in a neutral or safe location
- Prioritize your child and focus on making his or her experience as smooth as possible
- Start or engage in a fight during the exchange
- Be late or repeatedly ask for changes to the schedule
- Forget things your child wants or needs if you are handing off custody
- Let your emotions get the best of you
- Meet in a place or at a time when you or your child could be put in danger
Keeping an exchange civil and brief can be the best way to avoid contentious fights and protect your child. If you find that you do have more serious problems that cannot be resolved with these basic tips, however, more aggressive solutions may be necessary.
Discussing the exchange process as part of your parenting plan can be a good way to set the rules and know what to expect. Should issues arise, it can be crucial that you discuss the situation with an attorney or law enforcement agent to protect yourself, your parental rights and, most importantly, your child.