For divorcing parents in Pennsylvania, settling on a child custody and visitation arrangement is often the central issue in the divorce proceeding. When parents part ways, they must have a plan for sharing parenting time. The pick-ups and drop-offs that will be necessary to fulfill the parenting plan must be arranged as well. If parents do not get along with each other, there is a great potential for conflict during child custody exchanges.
Parents that share custody may exchange their children several times a month, and most of these child custody exchanges will happen without incident. However, there are times when divorced parents cannot contain their emotions while discussing parenting disagreements with one another. If a child custody exchange turns hostile, children could witness arguing, name calling or even physical violence.
A law enforcement officer may be called to the scene of a child custody exchange, but if no one is breaking the law, the officer will only be able to document what is happening for later review in court. Child custody exchanges that turn violent could result in one or both parents losing their child custody rights. When a court reviews a family law case, it will likely conclude that witnessing heated arguments during child custody exchanges is not what's best for the children.
Arguments during child custody exchanges may be avoided if parents meet in a neutral location rather than at their own homes. In some cases, a judge may order divorced parents to complete child custody exchanges at a police station. An attorney may be able to represent a parent who is going through a divorce and ensure that the parenting plan includes provisions for avoiding conflict during child custody exchanges.