How Do We Exchange our Kids When Visitation Changes?

There are moments in divorce that are danger zones. Parent-time exchanges (i.e., when your kids go back and forth between you and your soon-to-be ex for visitation) are on such danger zone.

Unless you’re really careful, things can get heated during exchanges. Tempers flare and heated words are often exchanged, and all of this happens in front of the kids.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I often counsel clients to do curb-side pickups. In essence, one parent drives to the other parent’s home and parks on the curb. The kids leave the home with their stuff and walk to the car. The other parent doesn’t walk with them; they walk alone from the house to the car. It’s that simple.

By doing this, you cut down on so much tension. There are no more awkward confrontations at the car and no more yelling.

Of course, if you don’t have problems with exchanges, then you can simply walk the kids to the car, or to the other person’s front door, during exchanges. This is really the situation you want to have because it’s best for your children.

If there are serious safety concerns, then you can exchange the children at a designated place that is not your home. We sometimes use Maverick gas stations as the exchange point because they have video cameras. If there’s every any question what happened, we can simply ask them for the security footage and see.

Some people want to do parent-time exchanges at the police station. I don’t recommend this unless it’s a very extreme case. The reason is kids know somethings wrong when they go to the police, and it causes them anxiety every time. If you can avoid this scenario, please do.

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