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Safe zones for child custody exchanges 

Unfortunately, occasionally you and your co-parent end up in a heated argument during the custodial exchange (i.e. pick up or delivery or your child). It’s stressful for you and your co-parent and stressful, and maybe even frightening, for your child. You’re afraid your neighbors will call the police. Maybe you’re even afraid of what your co-parent will do.

Moving these exchanges to a public place (i.e. local park or coffee shop) where there are people might not be enough to ensure that things don’t turn ugly. In these situations, parents often use designated “safe exchange zones” to hand off their children. Sometimes, the court will order the use of one of these locations (and sometimes these locations even have surveillance cameras monitoring them).

Many safe zones are in police department parking lots

Safe zones are often in the parking lots of local police departments, where they’re monitored by officers inside. Some are designated child exchange centers that are also used when parents only have supervised visitation rights. These may be run by the local government or private organizations. Some of these may charge a fee for a monitored exchange. More and more “Internet sale safe zones” are popping up at local police departments. Parents may choose to use one of these, unless the court mandates something else.

SafeTrade Station has a list of sites throughout the country that can be used for custody exchanges, most of which are at police departments. It’s best to choose one where law enforcement officers are at the location. If the court has ordered you to use a supervised exchange site, you should receive a list of approved sites in your area. Unfortunately, the City of Philadelphia currently has no designated safe exchange sites.

If you’re having issues with custody exchange and want a requirement that they be handled in a designated safe exchange zone or other public location away from your home, you can ask for a modification of your custody plan, or even a court order, mandating this type of exchange. It’s important to know what legal options you have to keep these exchanges safe and drama-free.

Contact the attorneys at OWM Law to discuss your rights and responsibilities.

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