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When custody exchanges aren't working out

Sharing custody of your children is one of the hardest parts of the divorce process for many people. Parents often wonder if their children are OK, well taken care of or upset when they are visiting with the other parent. The transition from house to house can also be challenging for the child. However, one of the hardest parts of this process is the actual custody exchange.

In most cases, these exchanges happen at the parents' houses, with the receiving parent picking the children up at the other parent's residence. However, many divorced parents continue to have issues with each other and are not always capable of being the friendly, cooperative exes we imagine as the ideal. The custody exchange is emotionally charged, and this opens the door for disagreements that can escalate quickly.

Couples with a history of explosive fights, domestic violence or even particularly messy and contentious divorces may be at a higher risk of issues during custody exchanges. While the occasional disagreement may happen, it's best to table these discussions for another time when you and your ex can work things out away from the children.

However, in some extreme cases, custody exchanges can get particularly difficult and sometimes even violent. Couples who have these issues may benefit from doing custody exchanges in a public place or even in the parking lot of the local police station. If this doesn't diffuse the situation, it may be necessary to bring the issue back in front of the courts to see if a change in visitation or custody is warranted.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody Exchange," accessed Nov. 06, 2015

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