April 2, 2015 By Paul Wallin


child custody
child custody exchange zones


When you and your former spouse are involved in a court-ordered custody agreement your main concern is for your child to be as far removed from any personal conflict between you and the other parent as possible. In some cases, law enforcement must step in and regulate these child custody exchanges directly. New California “safe swap” zones may help parents with positive, efficient child exchanges.

Parent Benefits of Child Exchange Zones

Mendocino County has recently implemented the Child Custody Exchange Location Project, a new tool for parents involved in a court-ordered custody agreement. This project adds a safe child exchange zone near the parking lot of the county jail in a separate labeled segment with ample parking spaces for parents. The parent-parking area will have 24-hour lighting video surveillance. Multiple cameras that monitor all activity in the child exchange area allow families involved in court-ordered custody agreements to document their meetings without the direct assistance of law enforcement officers.

The “Child Exchange Only” labeled parking spaces are visibly marked and include a sign stating the area is under 24-hour surveillance. However, the safe zone is not exclusively for the assistance of families involved with court-ordered child custody arrangements. The child-exchange area is open to any parent who would prefer taking advantage of the free service when they exchange children for any reason, including school-related and extracurricular activities.

Law Enforcement Benefits of Child Exchange Zones

child exchange zones
Child custody exchange zones

This new tactic for child custody exchanges helps to ensure positive reinforcement for the child during the custody arrangement. Moreover, without the supervision of law enforcement officers, the child is only in the presence of his parents. Arrangements placed in these zones next to the county jail could save law enforcement both time and money. Law enforcement will not have to spend money on supervising child custody exchanges and can focus their efforts elsewhere.

While the monitoring cameras and child safe zone may provide safety, the benefits still need to be seen. If you were to meet up with your child’s other parent and knew by the signs posted in the area that you were being recorded, your behavior might be influenced. This may cause any tension between you and your former spouse to be subdued.

Share Your Feedback with Us

At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys place great value on the feedback we receive from our clients and our readers. We would like to hear from you about this topic. Have you and the other parent had incidents during a custody exchange? Do you feel a designated surveillance monitored child exchange area would be beneficial or damaging to court-ordered custody agreements? What are some potential reasons you feel this would have such an effect? Do you feel these zones should be implemented statewide? Please leave your comments below.

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