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How to make a child custody exchange safely

You may share custody of your children with your ex, but that doesn't mean that you and your ex are on good terms. Maybe your ex is angry that you've moved on and have a new romantic interest. Maybe they simply don't like the current custody and visitation schedule and blame you for the limitations. Maybe they're just still angry over whatever brought the relationship to an end.

Those situations can make every custody exchange with your child's other parent both incredibly tense and potentially volatile. You naturally want to keep exchanges as peaceful as possible, but you simply aren't sure how. Here are some suggestions:

Choose the location of the exchange carefully

When you don't feel comfortable enough around your ex to exchange custody directly at your door, a public location is a much better choice. However, the authorities caution against picking just any public spot, like a grocery store's parking lot or at the nearest McDonald's. People may still act out in those locations. It's far safer to use a safe location, like the lobby of the local police station or sheriff's office.

Ask for a peace officer to oversee the exchange

If this is the first time you've made an exchange after a big blowout with your ex or someone else involved, it may be wise to ask for the police to send an officer out to ensure everyone's safety. Most of the time, just having a police officer on the scene is enough to put everyone on their best behavior.

Take steps to minimize additional triggers

Every situation is unique, but the odds are high that you can predict at least a few issues that can make an exchange more hostile. If your ex and your mother can't stop fighting, for example, don't bring your mother to the custody exchange.

When custody and visitation issues are tearing your life apart, find out what legal rights you have and what can be done to help.

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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