As you and your co-parent are working out your custody and visitation agreement and parenting plan, you’re likely primarily concerned with how your children will be dividing their time between the two of you. You’re probably looking at provisions regarding what you each expect when your children are with the other parent.
However, as you negotiate these documents (or ask the court to make decisions if you’re unable to reach agreements on your own), don’t forget to have a transportation plan for moving the kids between your homes. Whether you’ll be sharing custody fairly equally or one of you has sole custody while the other has visitation rights, a transportation plan is important. Confusion and conflict over who is picking up and dropping off the kids and where can start or end a visit on a very sour note for your children.
Let’s look at some items that you may need to address in this plan:
- Will the parent who’s taking the kids pick them up or will the other parent drop them off?
- If your two homes are some distance apart, will you each drive halfway?
- Do both parents have safe cars and necessary child safety restraints?
- Will anyone else be allowed to do the drop-off or pick-up (like a grandparent or other family member)?
- If the parent who is supposed to pick up the child for custody/visitation is unable to do so, does the other parent have to transport them? If they refuse, are they in contempt of court?
- Will the pick-up and drop-off points be the home or do you need a neutral exchange point where you’re less likely to get into an argument? Louisville, like most other major cities, has supervised visitation centers that are also used for “safe exchanges.” If one of you is required to have supervised visitations, there are a whole other set of parameters that need to be approved by the court.
Not all of these questions will necessarily apply to your situation, and there may be additional situations you need to address. Your family law attorney will likely tell you that it’s better to anticipate all circumstances that could crop up and address them upfront in your transportation plan so that you don’t have to go back to court and modify your plan unnecessarily.