Doylestown and Newtown Divorces - Custody Exchange Issues

Pennsylvania divorces are typically stressful, emotionally draining and exhausting for the parties involved.  Divorced couples often don’t want to see each other after divorcing, especially if the divorce was contentious.  However, parties have no choice and have to communicate with their former spouse and see them whenever the children are involved.

In a perfect world, after a court issues a custody order laying out the custody schedule, parties would abide by it and there would be no issues between the parties.  Unfortunately, this is often not the case, and issues do arise. One of these issues involves custody exchange.

Related: Does the Holiday Custody Schedule Take Precedence Over the Regular Custody Schedule? By Doylestown Custody Attorneys

Example of a Custody Exchange Issue

Consider the following example.  A father and mother divorce, and the mother stays in the couple’s Doylestown home they lived in during the marriage, while the father moves to New Hope due to the location of his job.  Per the custody order, the custody exchange takes place in Newtown, which is the approximate midpoint between Doylestown and the father’s new employment and close to his home in New Hope.  The custody exchange takes place at a parking lot of a Newtown shopping center.

The mother is often late to custody exchanges, whether she is dropping off or picking up their child.  She is not just 10 minutes late, she is usually 50 minutes to an hour late.  The father asks her to call him if she is going to be late, but she never does.  The father is worried that if he leaves after waiting for a long period of time, it may negatively impact the time he has with his child per the custody order.

What can the father do in this situation?  Is there a reasonable amount of time that he should wait before he leaves?  Can he leave after 15 minutes? Does he have to wait for 30 minutes or more? Can he file a motion with the court regarding this custody exchange issue? 

Things do happen that may cause a party to be late to a custody exchange, such as traffic.  In such cases, it would be unreasonable to file a motion with the court to ask a party to be on time every time.  However, if the party is perpetually late like the mother in the above scenario, the father may file a petition for contempt and modification of the current custody order.  In the petition, the father can ask the Judge to enter a custody order that places a reasonable limit on the amount of time a party must wait at the custody exchange location before leaving without negative consequences and also ask for make up time that the father may have missed due to her tardiness.  In order to prove to the Court that this remedy is necessary, the father absolutely should document her tardiness via email or text so that evidence can be later presented to the Court to prove his position and verify his testimony.

Information About Divorce and Family Law in Doylestown and Newtown

To learn more about our legal services relating to custody, child support and other divorce and family law matters in Doylestown and Newtown, PA, please visit the Practice Areas Section of our website. If you would like immediate assistance, please call us at (215)968-1800 or contact us online.