On the surface, this seems like an easy issue. But, consider the following possibilities for exchanging the children between mother and father in a custody case:
- Do the parties choose a half-way point between the residences at a designated location to exchange the children?
- Do the parties agree that the person ending their custody time will drop the children off at the residence of the parent who is beginning their custody time?
- Do the parties agree that the person who is getting custody of the children goes and picks up the children from the other parent?
- Does one parent do all the picking up and dropping off of the children?
- Do the parties agree to meet up 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 residences of the parents? How will the children be put on a plane and who pays for the cost of travel?
- What about severe cases 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 be peaceful?
The Best Outcome to the Exchange Location Dilemma
The best outcome is when parties can be reasonable and come up with something that works for them and their children, and most of the time, this is the case. However, there are going to be those cases where parents simply cannot agree, in which it becomes heavily litigated. These heavily litigated cases can come from parties having different views on custody in a contested custody case or where parties might have concern about drive-time, traffic, transportation costs or just have general anxiety over seeing their ex-spouse, or the other parent to their child, at a custody exchange.
Either way, in cases where the parties can’t agree, the court ultimately has to make a decision. This issue illustrates how complex child custody cases can be.
You can listen to more on this topic in a podcast titled: Child Custody Exchanges.