If you share custody of your children with a co-parent, you must occasionally meet to exchange the kids. Even if you have a decent relationship with your children’s other parent, custody hand-offs can be prime opportunities for conflict.
Conflict usually is not good for you, your children or their co-parent. Consequently, while you do not have to be a doormat, you may want to take steps to minimize conflict during your custody exchange. Three techniques are usually successful.
1. Focus on the logistics
You can greatly reduce conflict by getting the exchange logistics right. When drafting your parenting plan or negotiating your custody agreement, devote some attention to the time and place of your custody exchange.
The best hand-off locations usually share four qualities:
2. Communicate early
Even if you pick the perfect spot and the right time to exchange your kids, something may interfere with the custody hand-off. While you should not make a habit of being late, you should always communicate hiccups with your children’s co-parent as soon as possible.
Put simply, a timely phone call or text message may help you set realistic expectations.
3. Have a forgiving attitude
It is easy to look for some reason to argue with your children’s co-parent. If you have a legitimate beef, you likely have some legal means for redressing it. For example, you may seek resolution through mediation.
For the small stuff, though, having a forgiving attitude is one of the more effective ways to minimize conflict during your regular custody exchange.