For many post-divorce families, co-parenting is the most favorable option. With this approach to raising children, you and your former spouse each play a role in the upbringing of your son or daughter. Because you and your ex-spouse do not live together, however, you must have a plan for exchanging your son or daughter at the beginning and end of parental visitation time.
Your parenting plan is a great place to address custody hand-offs. This negotiated and binding agreement provides a framework for the care of your child. Among other things, your parenting plan should include provisions for exchanging your kids. Here are three topics you should be sure to cover:
When you co-parent a child, each parent has visitation rights. While negotiating the visitation schedule is essential, you also want your parenting plan to outline each parent’s responsibilities. For example, you want to designate which parent is responsible for transporting the child to and from each visit. If there are issues with fulfilling any responsibilities, your parenting plan should also include notice requirements and other procedures.
The safety of your son or daughter is paramount. As such, you want your parenting plan to mandate child safety. Specifically, it should contain a provision that requires the transporting parent to use child car seats, booster seats and seat belts. It may also address the clothing the child must wear during visit exchanges that occur during inclement weather.
Your parenting plan should also include the location of your visitation drop-off. While this place can be virtually anywhere, some locations are better than others. Typically, well-lit public places are more suitable than either parent’s home. On the other hand, if a judge has ordered the exchange to take place in a specific location, you must adhere to his or her order.
If you plan to share custody of your son or daughter with an ex-spouse, you want the custody hand-off to be as smooth as possible. Fortunately, addressing some important topics in your parenting plan is a good way to reduce friction.