In cases where there is high conflict between the parents, a frequent issue that arises is where the children are changed over from one parent to another. The options most often discussed are:
- The home of one parent or both parents.
- The Police Station.
- Another family member such as grandparents.
Generally speaking when there is high conflict, it is best that contact does not take place in the home of either parent. This is of course a case by case thing. The better option is often for change over to occur in a public place. In some cases McDonalds is seen as a good point to transition, but this is usually a temporary agreement only. It is generally accepted that it is not a good idea in the long term for such an arrangement to take place at a fast food outlet.
In some cases before the Family Court one or both parents have suggested that the Police Station be a transition point. This has been strongly rejected by myself and other participants in the Family Court system. The effect on children of seeing the other parent at the Police Station is incredibly negative. It is also not what should be done within a Police Station.
Again, as a temporary measure, children being transported by grandparents or other family has generally worked well. In some cases it is just not a good idea for the parents to see each other during this time. It may be, for example, that there is a protection order in place.
The best change over place for a high conflict parenting situation is generally agreed to be at the school. This avoids the parents coming into contact with each other. It is seen as a positive experience to pick up and drop off a child at school. It means that both parents are becoming involved more normally with the children’s education.
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