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4 ways to deal with difficult custody exchanges

Raising a child with an ex can be difficult, especially when you see that person as volatile, unreliable and/or mean. Under those circumstances, even the briefest interactions during custody exchangescan be stressful and spiral into all-out fights.

Not only can these situations be hard on the adults involved, but they can also be painful for the children. With that in mind, there are some ways to make difficult custody exchanges a little easier.

Exchanging at a safe, neutral place

If you have fears that the exchange will lead to yelling or physical altercations, exchange custody in a public space. This can include outside a police station, near the child's school or at a grocery store. These spaces should be well-lit, safe and easy for both people to access. 

Avoid any unnecessary discussions

Some people share brief hellos and have some casual conversations with another parent during exchanges, but this is not necessary, especially if it is likely to trigger an argument. Instead, you might refrain from talking to each other altogether. Should you need to discuss something about your child, consider sending it in email before or after the exchange.

Give yourself time

Avoid adding stress to an already stressful situation by preparing. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exchange and have everything ready for your child. Making every effort to arrive at the exchange location on time can prevent tempers from rising and make the exchange easier for everyone.

Plan something calming or enjoyable for after

Whether you are dropping off your child or picking your child up, try to plan something relaxing or fun after the exchange. If you'll be alone, consider meeting a friend for lunch or going to a movie. If you will have your child, think about going to the park or grabbing some ice cream together. Having something to look forward to can make it easier to get through the stress of an exchange.

If you are a parent sharing child custody with a volatile ex, these few suggestions can make it a little easier to get through custody exchanges without getting into fights. 

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