It can be hard to deal with custody exchanges when you’re constantly involved in arguments with the other parent or are picking up or dropping off a distressed child. Even though your custody arrangements are binding, you may be thinking about ways that you can help your child adjust better and you can avoid disputes.
A custody modification could help in some cases. For example, if your current custody plan has three or four custody exchanges a week, you may want to consider a plan with fewer exchanges. Perhaps changing to a bi-weekly arrangement to have only two visits a week or an arrangement where your child goes to the other home every other or every two weeks could be beneficial.
Your child’s best interests have to come first
Any time you look into changing something about a custody schedule, you need to put your child’s needs first. If you have tried the current custody schedule and believe that your child needs to have more frequent exchanges to reduce stress from not seeing you or the other parent often enough, that’s something you could discuss doing. Perhaps adding a few hours of visitation on top of the current schedule would be helpful, or you could set up virtual calls to keep them connected.
If your child is stressed by frequent custody exchanges, that is something you can address as well. For an older child, like a preteen or teen, having less frequent custody exchanges may be helpful. They’re already dealing with homework and afterschool activities, so reducing the custody exchange times they have to remember could be helpful in reducing stress. Doing this may also make it easier for them to keep track of important items, like schoolbooks or homework, which could get lost when traveling between homes.
Custody exchanges aren’t always going to be easy, but there are options to make them simpler and better suited to your child’s needs. If you’re having issues with custody exchanges, it’s worth discussing your options with your ex. If they are not willing to renegotiate the custody arrangements and you still believe changes are needed, you may want to petition the court for help.