“What Are My Visitation Exchange Options?”

Exchanges can be a difficult part of co-parenting. They can lead to conflict, and sometimes, physical fights. The best interest of the child or children, however, requires that these be as smooth as possible. There are options, which can be put in place either by agreement or court order, for keeping the peace during exchanges. The options, listed from least-restrictive to most-restrictive, are listed below:

1. Home Exchange: Exchanges at the home of the party who has the child. This is the generally preferred method. If both parties can be civil and polite, an easy exchange at a house is the best option. It does not, however, always work.

2. Curbside Exchange: This is the same as above, but with the provision that the children (if they are old enough to do this) simply get out of the car and walk to the house, or walk from the house to the car. The parents do not interact unless necessary. This tends to eliminate needless arguing, bad comments, or other conduct that instigates fights or conflict. It can be very useful particularly in the beginning of an arrangement when emotions are high.

3. Public exchange: This is used where the parties want a public place for the exchanges. This can be because they don’t want the other party at their home, or because they want witnesses around if there is a problem, or merely because they want a mutual location. This will generally be a park, or a restaurant with a child area. Malls or store complex, such as the kind that surround most theaters, are often used.

4. Exchange at a law enforcement facility: This is usually only done when cameras and possible law enforcement intervention could be needed. It is ordered usually when there is a high likelihood of a fight or a problem. It can be traumatic for children, however, to be at a police station constantly, so it is not ordered unless needed and only kept in place as long as is necessary.

5. Exchange and a controlled, supervised location: this is for extreme cases, where the parties should not even be seeing one another. This is appropriate in cases of restraining orders for physical violence, or where there has been a bad incident at an exchange. It costs and has a fee for each exchange, and thus will only be used where really needed. The local facility in Bakersfield, CA, is Heaven’s House. The procedure usually involves on parent dropping off, and then leaving, at which point the other parent arrives and picks up.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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