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Family Law Basics: MAKE THE BEST OF EXCHANGES
Family Law Basics: MAKE THE BEST OF EXCHANGES

One thing every parenting time case has in common are exchange days.  Whether they happen once a week, several times a week, or every few months, kids will have to transition from one home to the other.  What parents need to do is take steps to ensure that the transitions go well, or at least that they don’t go badly.

It’s common for kids to have behavior issues before or after transitions. You may see some more pushing boundaries than usual, or some sadness or acting out.  It’s the parents’ job to not exacerbate those issues.  Here are a few pointers:

  • Make it Quick – regular exchanges should not be treated like the kids are heading to college. A quick hug, “I love you,” and move along.
  • Make it Civil – This is where you show your kids that they are more important than any conflicts with your ex. Either say hello politely, or stay in the car.
  • Make it Kid-Focused – This is not the time to bring up child support or vacation disputes. Your kids should not have to see arguments when they are just trying to get from one home to the other.
  • Make it Consistent – The more routine and normalcy you bring to exchanges, the easier it will be for the kids to make the transition from home to home.

Following these steps may not eliminate transition issues at home, but they teach your children that they come first, and that their parents can be civil to each other.  That’s the foundation of healthy co-parenting.

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