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The Ins and Outs of Child Custody Exchanges


Couples with children who file for divorce must submit a parenting plan to the court, in which they propose a time sharing agreement. In many cases, these plans are approved if both parents’ agree to their terms and the court deems the arrangement to be in the child’s best interests. In other cases, the judge will step in and create a plan that he or she determines is reasonable and best serves the needs of the child.

Whether a parenting plan was designed by a court or a child’s parents, these agreements must contain provisions regarding custody exchanges, or how and when a child goes from the physical custody of one parent to the other. Custody exchanges can be high conflict situations, especially for parents who don’t have a particularly amicable relationship, so courts take steps to ensure that such exchanges are conducted according to a strict prearranged plan. For help coming up with your own parenting plan that serves the needs of both you and your spouse, as well as your children, please contact our dedicated child visitation and time sharing legal team today.

Court Orders

In the event that a court is required to step in and create a parenting plan, it will determine the location where child custody exchanges will take place. Judges usually try to choose a spot that is equally accessible to both parents, such as each other’s homes. However, if one of the parties is uncomfortable dropping off the child at the other parent’s home or workplace, the court could order the parents to conduct custody exchanges in a neutral location, such as at the child’s school, the local library, a police station, or another public place. In some cases, the court may even order supervised exchanges. When these orders are put in place, the parties must be careful to follow them carefully every time an exchange is made, or they risk facing sanctions from the court that could also affect their time sharing arrangement.

Choosing a Location

Parents who are able to come up with their own approved parenting plan are often able to choose the location for the exchange of custody. The location should be safe and comfortable for the child, but should also be workable for both parents. Common neutral locations chosen by parents include the child’s school or a local park. Often, the parents may even agree to transport the child directly to the other parent’s workplace or home. Whatever the parents’ decision, the location chosen for custody exchanges should be thoughtfully arranged to account for the child’s physical and emotional comfort.

An Experienced Child Visitation and Time Sharing Attorney

If you and your spouse are attempting to negotiate a parenting plan that includes a custody exchange provision, you already have such a plan in place, but have found it to be unworkable, or you were issued a court order with which your ex-spouse is refusing to comply, you need the advice of an experienced attorney. Please call 954-945-7591 today to speak with dedicated Fort Lauderdale child visitation rights lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your legal options.


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