What are curb-side exchanges?
Curbside exchanges require the child to be exchanged from one parent to the other at the sidewalk, parking lot or public space outside of the parent’s home.
Curbside exchanges are used to try and reinforce healthy boundaries between separated parents. Curbside exchanges prohibit the parents from entering each other’s driveway and disallow going near the door of the other’s home even with the child. In these types of exchanges, parents are forced to park on the street and the child walks out unaccompanied. Driveways and front doors are off limits to the person dropping off the child.
In high-conflict situations, the court order or agreement might include more rules that limit communication, prohibiting people from exiting the vehicle or whatever else it takes to keep things amicable for the child.
Do curb side exchanges work?
Curb-side exchanges are intended to reduce conflict. Sometimes the limited contact and distance between the parents is necessary. In these situations, the curbside exchanges are a Band-Aid on a much bigger issue. The underlying issues often involves family violence or flat-out inappropriate behaviour in the presence of the child. Curbside exchanges should be considered when at least one parent demonstrates they are unwilling to acting in a civil manner and the child must be protected from it.
Other times, the insistence to have curb side exchanges is simply an abuse tactic used by one parent to paint the other in a negative light. A parent may prohibit their co-parent from being too close to them or their home citing reasons like privacy or comfort. “Me-orientated” decisions ignore the thoughts or feelings of the child. Instead, the goal is to make the complaining parent comfortable despite the consequences to the child. The exchanges, when accompanied by restrictions or rules, serve as a reminder that the parents do not like each other.
Unfortunately, the child is still at risk of harm, even with curb side exchanges, if the parents do not figure out a way to address the bigger issues. Outside help should be brought in to figure out what is going on and how to fix it. Parents that can’t act nice even for a few minutes during an exchange to benefit the child, need intervention. There are several resources that could help and the child is worth the time and effort to overcome the obstacles.