Visitation Pick-Up & Drop-Off Locations: No Communication Zones!

Visitation Pick-Up & Drop-Off Locations: No Communication Zones! by Joshua Katz

{6:40 minutes to read} In this post I will discuss three popular venues for picking up and dropping off children.  

Police Precincts: Good or Bad

Professional supervisors

Video monitoring & recording


Well-lit at night

If there is a history of domestic violence, using a police precinct as a pick-up and drop-off location can be advantageous. Professional supervisors are on hand to ensure nobody gets hurt, and if there is ever a problem, you are right where you need to be to make a report.

The major downside to using a police precinct for pick-up/drop-off is that children grow up thinking the police are there to protect mommy and daddy from each other. And, they frequently get exposed to horrendous things that are not appropriate for young children. This type of pick-up/drop-off option is way over-utilized and costly to taxpayers. If you have ever tried to park near a police precinct in New York City, you know it is next to impossible. And police probably have more important duties than babysitting immature parents.

McDonald’s: Offering More Than Just a Happy Meal

Video monitoring & recording


Well-lit at night

These days, I see more court orders for McDonald’s to be utilized as a pick-up/drop-off point for children than anywhere else. McDonald’s serves the goal of having a public place that is well-lit at night, and you are less likely to have a confrontation. McDonald’s also has surveillance cameras deployed, and there are always witnesses. Every parent seems to know the locations of every McD’s!

Curbside: Mom’s or Dad’s House


Potential video monitoring & recording

Potential witnesses

No interaction between parents

For most families, I don’t know what is wrong with “curbside” pick-ups and drop-offs—meaning dad pulls up to mom’s house, by the curb; he beeps the horn; mom opens the door, and little Joey and Christine run to the car.

There is nothing unsafe about this as long as the kids are old enough to walk in a straight line. Mom and dad never need to interact. Coming back, dad can send a 5-minute-warning text to mom so that she is ready by the door. Dad then pulls up, opens the car door, kisses the kids goodbye, and they run inside. No interaction; no problems.  

Children are Not Messengers

Pick-ups and drop-offs are NOT the opportunity for mom to give messages to dad through the children. Send an email! Snail mail the child support check. Even if you meet at a police precinct, pick-ups/drop-offs are not the time to argue about who is going to have the kids for the holidays. Children should never hear these arguments.

Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs Should Take Seven Seconds

I once had a trial where a police lieutenant came to testify as a witness. For three years, he had watched the interactions between the parents during the pick-ups and drop-offs. These parties were “famous” at his precinct. He testified that a transfer of children should take seven seconds. The average precinct transfer takes less than two minutes. These particular parents averaged twenty-five minutes because they would always have a confrontation.

Avoiding Problems

I think people tend to exaggerate problems at pick-ups and drop-offs and to create their own problems by refusing to communicate appropriately. The fact is, a pick-up or drop-off transfer between mature parents should take seven seconds.

To an extent, it is an attorney’s job to educate parents that the transfer is not the time for communication. If you would like to discuss your visitation pick-up/drop-off location or need assistance with creating a smoother transfer scenario for your child, please contact us to explore how we may be of assistance to you and your family.

Plaine & Katz, LLP
80-02 Kew Gardens Rd.
Suite # 1050
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

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