So, where should we meet? Appropriate changeover places for the collection and delivery of children
Although each parent’s behaviour towards the other parent at changeovers will have the most impact on the children, the changeover destination does also contribute to the overall vibe of an integral part of parenting arrangements. Whether the parenting arrangements are established pursuant to a parenting plan, consent orders, or by order of the court, or whether the arrangements are more informal, changeovers are a regular component of separated family’s lives.
The arrangements which are made to facilitate the collection and delivery of children from one respective household to the other are often arrangements which are difficult to establish.
Should changeovers be at the other parent’s home? Should they be at the child’s school? Or should they be at the local contact centre, McDonalds, KFC, petrol station, or police station? The alternatives are really endless, and it is important that thought is given to the best place for your family to meet.
There is no hard and fast rule as to which location should be selected, and most locations are not suitable at all times. For instance, schools are not open during holiday periods or weekends, and contact centres may be unavailable at the required times, given the high level of demand for their services. This requires consideration to be given to other places.
When deciding on the best collection point for your child or children, it may be beneficial to consider what messages and associations the subject children may draw from the ultimately selected destination. Do you think that the association your child may draw from moving from Mum’s care to Dad’s care and back again, with the police station is positive? While sometimes the involvement of the police in changeovers may be necessary, should their involvement not be warranted, adverse inferences may be drawn and this may be unnecessarily damaging to the child.
Similarly, the association children may draw from being delivered and collected to and from a local family restaurant, such as McDonalds, may bring with it negative connotations, and may not instill the happiness that the destination may have been selected to provide.
Ultimately the changeover location that should be selected should be one where both Mum, Dad, and most importantly the children feel happy, safe and secure. After all it is all about the best interests of the children, and ensuring that their transition between their two homes is a smooth one.