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What are supervised custody exchanges?

Whenever you and your co-parent exchange your child, you seem to end up in a fight. This leaves your child feeling anxious and upset. Maybe you’ve tried custody exchanges in a public place like a park or a restaurant, but that doesn’t seem to help. It just means that more people witness the fights.

It might be time to consider supervised exchanges. These can be handled in various ways. Often, a third party like a family friend or relative who won’t take sides and make matters worse will be present. In some cases, that person will escort the child from one parent to the other so they don’t need to interact with one another. 

There are also monitored safe custody exchange facilities. There is typically a small fee for using them. 

When are supervised exchanges necessary?

Sometimes family court judges order supervised exchanges. Other times, one or both parents request that this be written into the parenting plan and custody order.

Typically, if there’s a history of spousal abuse, a parent isn’t going to have unsupervised access to their child. However, even without the likelihood of a physical fight breaking out, exchanges may need to be supervised if there’s an extreme amount of animosity between the parents that is toxic for the child to witness.

If you’re considering requesting supervised exchanges, it’s important to understand what kind of supervision you would prefer. Even if your co-parent agrees to them, it’s wise to have the terms included in your custody order so that you both understand what’s expected. If a judge has ordered them, it’s crucial to understand the terms and follow them.

Supervised visitation may just be needed your negative feelings toward one another dissipate or until your child is old enough to move between one parent and the other independently – even if it means just walking up the sidewalk from one parent’s car to the other parent’s door. 

If you’re co-parenting a child, you’ll eventually need to find a way to communicate with one another respectfully. Until then, supervised exchanges could be in your child’s best interests.