What do you do if your custody exchange falls during bad weather? With the recent snow and ice storms here in South Eastern North Carolina plus our normal bad weather (hurricanes, floods, etc.), this question will come up. Since snow days or other bad weather days are typically treated just like any other day under most custody Orders, what should you do?
LOOK AT YOUR ORDER
First, if you have a temporary or permanent child custody Order, look to see if exchanges during bad weather are covered. If so, follow the guidelines in your Order. If you willfully violate the Order, you could be facing contempt. If you don’t have a custody Order or an agreement, you should speak to an attorney about getting something in place. Discuss this with your attorney if you are drafting an agreement or preparing for a custody trial; especially if you and the other parent do not live in close to one another. Visit our child custody page to find out more about getting an agreement or Order in place.
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE
Whether or not your custody Order specifically address bad weather or if you don’t have an Order, the best thing you can do is communicate early and often. Try to make arrangements with the other parent in advance. Be safe, be fair, and be flexible. This may require some give and take between you and the other parent. Try to work out who will care for the child(ren) ahead of bad weather. If it appears that making the exchange on the appointed day may be dangerous due to the weather, see if you can arrange makeup time for the parent who would be missing out on their custodial time. Or you may want to consider exchanging the child(ren) early.
DON’T USE BAD WEATHER AS AN EXCUSE
You should never use bad weather as an excuse to extend your time with the child(ren) or deprive the other parent of their custodial time. Dishonesty will usually come back to bite you and you don’t want the other parent to do the same thing to you. You might also be facing contempt if you willfully violate a Custody Order. Do everything you can to cooperate with the other parent and try to work things out.
We can’t address every specific situation in a blog post, so if you have additional questions contact us.