Child Custody Exchanges

In North Carolina Family Law, Child Custody Orders and Child Custody Agreements deal with an array of issues regarding the care, custody, and control of minor children. One often overlooked yet important consideration in any custody schedule is how and where the children will be transferred from one parent to the other during a custody exchange transition.

When one parent’s custodial time ends, the other parent’s custodial time begins. However, many child custody agreements do not specify how the children will be transferred to the other parent nor do they specify where this transition will occur. Vagueness or a lack of detail on these issues can lead to arguments between parents about which one is responsible for transporting the children to the other. These arguments can be avoided with competent planning and incorporated language into your child custody agreement.

A common transition method is referred to by many Mecklenburg County Family Court Judges as the “Go Get Your Child” Rule, in which the parent set to begin his or her custodial time is responsible for picking up the children from the parent’s care. Depending on when the custody exchange is to occur, this may mean picking up the children from school or retrieving them from the other parent’s home.

Other parents have their custody exchanges at a mutually-agreed upon location, often an equal distance from each parent’s home or work. This type of custody exchange is often used when the parents live significant distances from one another as it reduces the travel burden for each. Even if the parents live close to one another this “midpoint exchange” is sometimes used to allow the exchanges to occur at a public place, such as a grocery store or gas station parking lot, if there concerns on safety or domestic violence.

As with everything else in North Carolina Family Law, there is no one size fits all approach to child custody exchanges. Depending on the situation, there may be a variety of ways to handle exchanges and a variety of rules that may apply to those exchanges. To speak with someone today about Child Custody, give us a call at (704) 810-1400.

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