Making the Most of Parenting Time Exchanges
Co-parenting will put your organizational skills to the test. From time to time, you may need to exchange your child with your spouse. This is one of the organizational challenges you will face if you share custody. Dropping your child off or picking them up will require some careful coordination, but exchanges can present opportunities to spend meaningful time with your child. Every family will handle its parenting time exchanges differently, but here are a few tips to help you make the most of yours.
Optimize your commute.
One of the downsides of parenting time exchanges is the time spent in the car. This may not be a problem if you live close. If you and your ex live across town from each other, however, your child will have to spend some time in the car before the exchange. You can make the most of this time by talking with your child about their time with their other parent. Inquire about what they did and demonstrate an interest in that part of their lives. Show a genuine interest in their lives when they are with their other parent. Talking with your child in the car before drop offs and after pick ups can help bridge the transition between your houses. This benefits both you and your child.
You can also try to integrate your parenting time exchanges with other activities your child engages in. This can cut down on driving time and can facilitate seamless exchanges. Try to coordinate the pick ups and drop offs with the lessons and activities your child normally goes to. You can also exchange your child by having your ex pick them up from or drop them off at school.
Seize the opportunity to demonstrate a united front.
This may be the only time your child sees you and your ex together. Make the most of the situation by being courteous and polite. Don’t argue or fight about child support or other divorce issues when you exchange your child. Make a point of communicating positively. Save the disputes for your private communications. Be on time and be patient if your ex is running late. Exchanges can be stressful for children as well as their parents. They may be reluctant to leave one parent for the other. This is normal. Once back in your care, your child might relax and shift gears. It is very important you do what you can to facilitate the transition from one parent’s care to the other to ensure parenting time exchanges, which will be ongoing, do not make them anxious.
If you have questions about preparing to be a co-parent, Mediation Advantage Services can help you. Polly A. Tatum is experienced in divorce mediation and can help you and your spouse divorce amicably, preserving your working relationship as co-parents. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at 508-795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.