Maintaining a consistent and civil parenting time schedule can be difficult. Whether the time is court ordered or parents have set up a timetable that is best for them and the children, either parent can try to thwart the rules.
The time and place of picking up or dropping off the kids is where issues arise. Sometimes one parent does not want the other at his or her house. Other times the parents live far away from one another and need more neutral ground for exchanges. An experienced family law attorney can advise parents how to handle this situation, but often finding a public place for exchanges is the first step to smoothing out the co-parenting process.
Child Custody Exchange Locations
There are several reasons why parents prefer to drop off and pick up their kids in a public place. Once it has been decided a public place is best, both parents need to agree on a location that can be used consistently for a long period of time. Preferably, the location should be mid-way between each parent’s home. This way one person does not have a significantly heavier transportation burden.
Common and convenient places to exchange children are:
• School or daycare: One parent can drop off in the morning and the other can pick up in the afternoon. This allows for very little interaction. The school can even be a meet up location on weekends, but the parents will have to briefly see each other.
• Church or temple: This is another way in which parents can have little interaction with each other, particularly if they can drop the children off without staying.
• A favorite restaurant: If school or a routine religious organization does not work, the parents can choose one of the children’s favorite restaurants. Even if the children do not look forward to the exchange, they can be excited for a delicious meal. If the parents get along well, this is also a great way to have family time with both parents spending time with the children at once.
Benefits of a Neutral Site for Child Custody Exchanges
Parents prefer public places for dropping off and picking up their children for parenting time for a number of reasons, including the following:
• Provides consistency: Instead of figuring out exchange locations on an ad hoc basis, children get used to gathering their belongings and making the journey to the same place on a routine basis. Parents also benefit from the consistency, always knowing where they need to go and when.
• Establishes boundaries: Neither parent has a right to glimpse too far into the other’s personal life. The only information they should be privy to is what pertains to the children. Having a public meeting place allows each parent to maintain his or her privacy.
• Encourages civility: When parents do not get along, a neutral place can make it easier to exchange the children without exchanging words.
If you need advice on getting a formal custody arrangement or need help maintaining the parenting schedule already established, contact the experienced attorneys at our office. The skilled DuPage County custody attorneys at Sullivan Taylor and Gumina, P.C. understand the stress shared parenting time can put on each parent and the children, which is why we will do what we can to help you create a healthy situation for everyone involved.