Many divorcing parents devote a great deal of time negotiating – and sometimes battling over – custody and visitation arrangements. After they’ve worked out things like how many days a week each parent has the kids and where they’ll spend various holidays, they sometimes don’t stop to consider how the kids will get back and forth between homes. They figure they’ll work that out later.
Not having a visitation transportation plan included in your parenting plan can lead to conflict, confusion and anxiety for everyone involved – including your children. That’s why it’s essential to work out these details and codify them.
A visitation transportation plan should address things like:
- Who is responsible for taking the kids from one home to the other and who is responsible for returning them?
- How much leeway does each parent have regarding their scheduled time for picking up or returning the kids?
- Safety rules for driving the children – for example, seat belts, car seats, no smoking
- Is anyone else allowed to transport the children?
- If the parents live some distance apart, is a midway exchange point necessary?
- Is a neutral exchange location required? If parents have difficulty interacting amicably, they may choose a location like a supervised visitation and exchange facility. Your attorney can help you find a convenient location.
- Can children be dropped off or picked up from other locations, such as school, relatives’ homes and day care facilities?
If parents are going to be living so far apart that a plane, train or bus ride is necessary, they should work out things like how transportation costs will be split and whether the children will be allowed to travel alone or at what age that will be considered.
The more details you can put into your parenting plan, the less likely you are to fight about them later. However, if you still have trouble getting compliance from your ex-spouse or changes are necessary as your children get older or the situation evolves, your attorney can help you.