Managing high-conflict custody exchanges: Tips for success

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Family Law |

To say that you and your co-parent are a high-conflict couple is an understatement. No matter how hard you try not to engage, your co-parent seems constantly ready for a fight — and they try hard to provoke one at any opportunity.

How do you keep the peace long enough to get through regular custody exchanges? It’s not easy, but here are some suggestions:

Consider the location of your exchange carefully

Pick a neutral location for your custody exchanges — preferably in a highly visible public space. If your ex-spouse is prone to outbursts, you may want to consider using the parking lot of the local police station as your drop-off and pick-up point.

Don’t take anybody with you who will fan the flames

Given your co-parent’s behavior, it’s understandable if you don’t want to go to the custody exchange alone. Merely having another person present may encourage your spouse to remain civil — but only if the person you bring as your escort doesn’t provoke them. If your sister, for example, has always disliked your ex-spouse and they’ve verbally sparred, leave her at home.

Don’t discuss anything that isn’t an immediate concern involving the children

If you need to tell your co-parent that your son’s spare inhaler is in his backpack, that’s fine — but don’t discuss anything that’s not 100% focused on your children’s immediate needs. Is your ex-spouse an hour late for the exchange for the third time in a row? Say nothing and address the issue later, through your legal representatives.

Ultimately, high-conflict custody situations can turn into pitched custody battles. You don’t want to give your ex-spouse any ammunition they can use against you in the fight. No matter how they behave, you need to focus solely on your own responses and the well-being of your children.

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