When a marriage ends, and divorcing parents are attempting to establish custody arrangements, there are many issues to consider. Because there are so many variables and so many changes, some tend to get overlooked. One frequently overlooked issue that divorcing parents should include when establishing their parenting plan is how they plan to handle transportation of the child or children during visitation. Addressing the issue up front will help everyone involved as being very specific regarding this particular detail can go a long way towards helping visitation go smoothly.
Elements Your Parenting Plan Should Include: Transportation During Visitation
- Timeliness: Parenting plans will almost always specify times for visitation, but make sure that both parents agree to be punctual. The parent with which the child presides (often referred to as the custodial parent) should agree to have the child ready to go on time and the parent picking up for visitation should agree to be at the transfer or pickup location on time as well.
- Location for Pickup: In many situations, the “pickup location” will be the home of the child or children, but one parent could also pick up at a child’s school, etc. This is a good idea if the divorcing parties do not get a long or have a history of violence, etc. In such cases it can be a bad idea to have the pickup location be one of the parents’ homes. In this case neutral pickup locations can be designated (i.e. the child’s school, a church, social services office, police station, etc.) Some neutral transfer locations may require a fee, so keep that in mind when designating a pickup location in the parenting plan.
- Responsibility for Transportation: Who is picking up the child? Who is taking them to the visitation site? There should be clear and specific designations of who is responsible for transportation of the child or children in the parenting plan.
- Safety Issues: Parents should discuss safety issues and come to an agreement on their standard of safety for children during transportation for visitation. For instance, children should wear seat belts at all times, both parents should have the necessary car seats, booster seats, etc.
- Long Distance Transportation: When one parent lives far from the custodial parent, it should be designated in the plan at what age children will be allowed to travel alone. It should also be made clear in the parenting plan who is responsible for the cost of any plane or bus tickets and what kind of supervision will be necessary for the child while traveling.
If you are worried about incorporating all the necessary details in your parenting plan, and need assistance, please get in touch with one of the experienced California divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm. We have the experience you need on your side.