When your scheduled parenting time starts and ends, you must meet with your ex-spouse to exchange the kids. While this may seem like a normal part of any co-parenting arrangement, it is a common source of friction among newly divorced parents. 

Unless you have supervised visitation or other special circumstances, you can likely exchange the children virtually anywhere. Still, to set reasonable expectations and minimize conflict, your parenting plan or custody agreement should clearly define the location of the hand off. The perfect spot is likely to have three attributes. 

1. Convenience

You are apt to visit the exchange location at least once per week. Therefore, you do not want to have an overly burdensome commute or unnecessary delays. Picking an exchange site that is convenient for you, your ex-spouse and your children is the right approach. 

2. Neutrality

You do not want your custody exchange to turn into a turf war. Therefore, when negotiating exchange cites with your children’s co-parent, you probably want to take both residences off the table. The same is true for your office and your ex-spouse’s place of employment. 

A neutral site, such as your children’s school or a public park, is a better option. 

3. Safety

Obviously, you want to swap the kids in a spot that is safe for everyone. Still, a place that is safe during most of the year may be dangerous in extreme temperatures or during a natural disaster. 

To ensure everyone remains safe, dress the children appropriately and designate a backup exchange site in your parenting plan.