ALWAYS be sure to consider who will be dropping off and picking up the minor children when entering into a Parenting Plan. Remember that it is not necessary for one party to constantly be responsible for the transportation. In most cases, it is shared. While the majority of parenting plans take into consideration how the minor children will be transported, when, and by whom, we nevertheless come across agreements that are not specific.
As you determine what is in the children’s and your own best interest, be sure to contemplate the number of times your agreement causes you to come into direct contact with the other parent. Often times it is beneficial for the parents to drop off and pick up the minor children at school, thereby avoiding the constant interaction the parents would otherwise have. We recommend this whenever possible as it is a “natural transition”. For example, when school has ended or is beginning, they need to be driven there. This is better than for example the anxiety created in a Sunday night exchange at one of the residences. This said, you may run into issues if the children are involved in extra-curricular activities and their uniforms and equipment need to be transported back and forth to each parents residence so planning ahead is important.
If you are unable to have pick ups and drop offs take place at school, then consider what other options may be available. Would you prefer to pick up and drop off at one another’s residence? Or, do you not feel comfortable with the other parent coming to your residence on a weekly basis. If not, then maybe you request that drop offs and pick ups take place at a halfway point, i.e. somewhere fun for the kids where they could be occupied like a McDonalds or somewhere comfortable for them. Regardless of the exchange location, be sure that you are comfortable waiting there if the other party is running late. For instance, if you are at home and the other parent is dropping off the children to you, then this may be more convenient if that parent is running late versus waiting in a parking lot.
Think this through as your daily life could be effected by the decision you make now! Keep in mind natural transitions and comfortable places for all involved for the exchange.
This article was co-written by Alisha Cyrus.© Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, PA, 2013. All rights reserved.