An often overlooked part of a child custody schedule is the exchange location. Where the parents meet to exchange the children can be an easy issue in some cases. In other cases, the parties might end up disagreeing vehemently. This can make this a heavily litigated issue in some cases.
While this might seem like an easy issue on the surface, consider the following possibilities for exchanging the children between mother and father in a custody case:
- Do the parties meet half-way between the residences at a designated location to exchange the children?
- Do the parties agree that the person relinquishing custody shall drop the children off at the residence of the parent who is beginning their custody time?
- Is it the opposite where the party who is getting custody of the children goes and picks up the children from the other parent?
- Does one parent do all the dropping off and picking up the children?
- Do the parties agree to do exchanges at the school where the parents simply drop off and pick the children up at school when it is in session.
- What about long-distance situations where the parents live so far away that the children have to fly between the homes of the parents? How will the children be put on a plane and who pays for the travel?
- What about high conflict situations where the parties may need to meet at a police station or at a family court exchange center for example to exchange the children because the parties fear that exchanges will not happen peacefully?
The hope is that the parties can be reasonable and come up with something that works for them and their children. In most cases, this usually happens. However, in some cases, this can be a heavily litigated issue where the parents just cannot agree. This can be especially true where the parents are already in a contested custody case with highly different views on how custody is going to work. In other cases, this can occur even where the parties generally agree on most custody issues because parties might have concern about drive-time, traffic, transportation costs, or just have general anxiety overseeing their ex-spouse, or the other parent to their child, at a custody exchange.
Either way, the court ultimately has to make a decision when the parties cannot agree. This issue illustrates how child custody can be complex. Even an issue like how the children are exchanges can become difficult for parties to work through amicably.
If you are going through a child custody case, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. We have a child custody lawyer in Missouri and Illinois who can assist. You can call 1-855-805-0595 if you would like to talk to an attorney.