How can you ease child handovers?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

As divorcing parents, you need to get used to the fact that you will spend a lot of time exchanging your child with each other. The custody arrangement will determine the regularity and scheduling, but the mechanics are down to you.

Your goal should be to make handovers as easy as possible for your children, even if that requires a little extra effort on your part.

3 steps you can take

You are the ones bringing an unwanted change to your children’s lives, and as adults, you should be better equipped than your children to handle the difficulties.

  • Be nice: However much you hate your co-parent right now, do not use handovers to get one over on them by purposefully making them late for work or similar. Who will suffer when parents play off against each other is the children.
  • Be punctual: Your child may already feel anxious without worrying if you are going to turn up or not.
  • Be careful what you say: The handover may be the only time you see the other parent face to face. Yet that does not mean you can use it to discuss everything related to your child. Some conversations are best had another time when the child is not there. They may take away the wrong message if they overhear snippets of your exchange. For instance, you tell your ex you cannot have the kids this weekend, and they reply they already have plans. Your child might feel that they are a burden to both of you and that neither of you wants them.

Getting help to reach a custody agreement that works for you, your child, and your co-parent is one of the first steps you can take to make handovers easier. When you or your co-parent feels hard done by, it is more likely to lead to conflict when you meet.

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