Where to do Visitation Exchanges and How to Keep Safe While Doing Them

There are very few people you can turn to for advice when it comes to a visitation exchange. But for those who are living in or have lived through a high conflict custody battle and fought through the exchanges you understand how frustrating, and at times scary, these exchanges can be.

The answer we all want to know is how to stop the negative exchanges altogether or at least remove as much frustration as you possibly can. The answer is there is no “one size fits all” but there are some tactics you can employ that will help eliminate many of the bad behaviors.

First let’s consider that the drop-off, pick-up, just isn’t working out. How do you get it change? Head back to court file a motion and ask to change it. Make sure you identify what isn’t working and why.

Now let’s look at different reasons for wanting changes and how to resolve them. Start with keeping safe. If you or someone you love is afraid for their safety but is constantly  drawn into unsafe circumstances by them it is time to get a new plan. If you have good reason to be afraid, like having your life threatened, then you will want to get a restraining order. Document the threats that have been made and get help from your local court (they can refer you to a free help center). Getting a restraining order normally stops the threats, and if it doesn’t the person can go to jail for threatening  you.

Let’s take this a step further. Even after you have a restraining order you still need to exchange the children. Instead of waiting somewhere, it is best to make exchanges at natural changes of events for the child, like school. If you drop-off or pickup at school, then there is no need to see the other parent. It doesn’t get safer than that. If you cannot do it this way, then have the parent responsible for visitation pick them up at the other parents home. Restraining orders are marvelous here because if you have an order stating you pick the child up but the other parent creates a problem, you call the police and let them bring the child out to you. It may not be perfect for the child but it is better than the alternative.

What if someone moved and now the original plan isn’t working out. Work out what would be a better solution, present it to the other parent, and when that fails, file a motion.

Not all exchanges take place at the other parents home. Here are some other places that they happen. Grocery stores, fast food, gas stations, police departments, a trusted neutral persons home. If someone is telling you “you can’t do that”, think again. There are no rules governing this. If using natural breaks doesn’t work then get creative and find places that do. The court always rules in the child's best interest. So if a problem is created for the child then let the court know.

Here is the interesting thing. Just like buying a new car you notice them everywhere when you buy one, visitation swaps are everywhere. You recognize other's when you see them. And you see them everywhere. Find the one that works best for your child and keeps you safe.

Best Regards,
Ed