The daycare is sometimes used to exchange the child from one parent to the other. This means that the child is left at the daycare by one parent and picked-up by the other parent. This strategy limits contact between parents that fight or have safety concerns. A court order for daycare exchanges might state:
The (parent) shall have parenting time from Friday at 4:00 p.m. until Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. The (parent) must pick-up the child from daycare at the start of (his/her) time then drop the child off at daycare at the end of (his/her) time.
But, what happens if the daycare is closed?
It is a mistake to assume that the daycare will always be open. The order must have a plan for non-operational daycare days. Otherwise, a long weekend will create chaos for parents that can’t work together to make a child-oriented decision.
A court order might have someone to get involved with the exchanges:
If the daycare is closed for whatever reason, the exchange shall be facilitated by (an agreed third party) picking-up the child at (agreed location) at the start of (parent)‘s time then returning the child to (agreed location) at the end of (parent)‘s time unless otherwise agreed upon.
Or a court order might extend parenting time over long weekends:
If the daycare is closed for a statutory holiday, the (parent)‘s time shall be extended to include the statutory holiday. If the statutory holiday is on a Friday, the (parent) shall pick the child up from daycare on Thursday at (whatever time). If the statutory holiday is on a Monday, the child shall be dropped off at daycare on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. unless otherwise agreed upon.
Without a back-up plan:
A parent might decide to keep the child for the weekend because the daycare wasn’t open on Friday for the exchange. Or if the daycare was closed on a Monday, the other parent might decide to extend their time until the daycare is open next.
Now imagine if the daycare was closed for an entire week for Christmas.
The parent losing time will be upset. The police might be called. Third parties and lawyers will likely be called to intervene. The fiasco will probably end up back in court for changes to the order for a plan for non-operational daycare days, make-up time and police enforcement of the parenting schedule.
If you want a parenting order or if you need to change the one you already have, we strongly recommend working with an experienced legal professional. An experienced lawyer, paralegal, mediator, legal coach or a parenting coordinator can help you identify and avoid potential issues before they happen.