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How to Avoid Conflict While Exchanging Child Custody After an Oklahoma Divorce

conflict while exchanging child custodyAvoiding conflict while exchanging child custody after an Oklahoma divorce is important in maintaining relationships between the children and their parents. For the sake of the children, it is important to avoid conflicts of any type in front of them. Conflict while exchanging child custody creates anxiety and stress for the children and can change the way that they view their parents. Your children’s physical and emotional welfare should be your top priority.

Safe Exchange Options

Custody exchanges sometimes escalate into high conflict situations that includes verbal abuse or physical violence. If you cannot avoid conflict while exchanging child custody, there are various options available.

  1.  In order to avoid a face to face confrontation that is likely to turn into a stressful or volatile situation in front of the children, you could consider a no contact exchange where you do not have to see or talk to one another. For example, the receiving parent could drive to your home at the scheduled time for the child custody exchange and, when he or she arrives, blow the horn or call on the telephone with a short message that he or she has arrived, and then you could watch your child walk to and enter the other parent’s vehicle.Other no-contact options include having the children picked up from a family member, friend or a church or organization where the child can be taken and a trusted third party will turn the child over to the other parent. The arrangements would be reversed when the visitation has ended.
  2. Exchange custody in a public location that has surveillance cameras, security personnel or general public activity where there will be witnesses and staff that can provide safety. Parents who are highly confrontational with each other usually still care about how the public perceives them and will conduct themselves in a socially acceptable manner in these types of locations.
  3. Make the exchange at a police station. If one of the parents is concerned for his or her safety, a police station is an excellent location. It should be kept in mind that police stations may cause the children undue stress because they may feel that the situation could be dangerous to one or both parents.


Mediation can help resolve issues and prepare a plan for child custody exchanges that is acceptable to both of you so that you can work towards doing the right thing for your children’s welfare. Mediators are trained to provide guidance to resolve the problem and help the parents deal with the stresses involved, with the ultimate decisions being made by the parents.

Court Resolution of Conflict While Exchanging Child Custody

When parents cannot conduct themselves in a way that is in the best interest of the children, one or both parents could potentially lose custody of the children. Most visitation orders in Oklahoma divorces include an encouragement for both parents to cooperate in promoting a positive relationship with the other parent and the children. It may also include an order that the parents refrain from speaking critically of each other in the presence of the children.

If conflict while exchanging child custody cannot be avoided and you cannot agree on a safe exchange location, you may want to consider modifying your child custody and visitation rights through the court. A parent may request modifications including public only exchanges, that verbal and telephone contact between the parents be stopped and can request supervised visitation. If you feel that your safety and your children’s mental or physical health are in jeopardy, you should take steps to correct the situation in the best interest of your children.

Parenting Coordinators

If the court finds that your situation is a high conflict case, it may appoint a parenting coordinator. High conflict means that children are involved and the parents have demonstrated a pattern of ongoing litigation, anger and distrust, verbal abuse, physical aggression or threats of physical aggression, difficulty communicating about and cooperating in the care of the children, or other conditions at the discretion of the judge.

They will aid the parents in identifying disputed issues and exploring possibilities for compromise, reducing misunderstandings, clarifying priorities, developing methods to help parents cooperate and work together, and complying with the court orders in the case.

Even if your situation is not high conflict, you can request that the court appoint a parenting coordinator if both parents agree. In those cases, the parents may limit the coordinator’s decision making authority to specific issues that they need help resolving.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney

If you are dealing with child custody issues, you should speak with a Tulsa divorce attorney to discuss your legal options. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on the legal implications presented by your child custody exchange situation. Call Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at 918-924-5526 to schedule your free consultation today.