Illinois residents know that winter weather can turn on a dime. A morning commute might be sunny and clear while the evening drive home could be stalled by six inches of snow. These sudden changes can wreak havoc on a parenting plan and child custody exchange.
During the divorce process, parents worked to develop a plan that accounted for future childrearing issues. The parenting plan contains numerous contingencies for the exchange, a holiday schedule and direction regarding travel. In Illinois, however, it is wise to include some language centering on a safe custody exchange when the weather turns dangerous. Here are some tips to remember:
- Communication is key: With bad weather on the horizon, divorced parents must remain in constant communication. Whether dealing with weather-related traffic jams or other hazardous conditions in attempting to reach the exchange, a quick phone call or text message goes a long way. These messages can update the other parent regarding a late exchange or simply alleviate worry but remaining silent in the face of a dangerous commute can be frightening.
- Alternate locations: Great care likely went into deciding on the location for the child custody exchange. During the winter months, however, it is wise to have a bad-weather alternate in place. Some parents select a natural location such as a school or extracurricular activity. One parent will drop the child off and one parent will pick the child up. This can make planning a bit more straightforward.
- Proxies: Certain weather patterns might strike different neighborhoods with different intensities. It is wise to identify a proxy or two who the parents have approved to make the custody exchange. Whether this is a trusted friend, co-worker or family member, it might be possible for this person to safely reach the exchange in your place.
Even if the marriage ended on unpleasant terms, parents must always do what’s right for the children. This includes developing a child custody exchange that takes impending poor weather into consideration. At the very least, the parenting plan should include provisions that account for dangerous road conditions and the safety of all involved.