While decisions around child custody and visitation can be a contentious part of a California divorce, the child custody exchange can be a trigger for conflict as well. These exchanges happens when one parent’s period of custody ends and the other begins, and how they will take place is often outlined in the child custody agreement. Exchanges usually occur without incident, but some have sparked violence.

For example, one woman’s boyfriend shot and killed her ex-husband during a custody exchange. Another man died when a plan to have a friend shoot him in an effort to get custody went wrong. One man was charged with child abuse and endangerment when he placed a knife in his child’s backpack hoping that the mother would be blamed.

Even less violent clashes between parents can be upsetting for children. Conflicts over school, child support or how the children are raised might come up. While the police may be called, unless there is a violent confrontation, they usually can only document the situation. This can be used later in court. However, parents may be able to avoid these conflicts altogether by keeping the best interests of the children in mind.

This is the standard that a judge uses in making a decision about child custody and visitation. Parents may also be able to negotiate a child custody and visitation agreement. Even if they are experiencing a lot of conflict, it might be possible to reach an agreement through mediation. Another advantage of mediation is that it may provide parents with conflict resolution skills they can use after the divorce. Mediation aims toward compromise and cooperation, and each party is entitled to have legal representation.