In Ohio and across the country, police departments and other organizations are creating safe zones, which provide a monitored meeting area for parents and children who are involved in difficult divorce situations. These areas create a safe place for parents and children to conduct visits or as a place where parents can exchange their children as part of a child custody agreement. While this concept has existed for some time, it is just recently starting to garner national support and popularity.
According to a recent article, a Sandusky agency named Joyful Connections has been in operation and supporting this purpose since 2008. The private organization originally began as the brainchild of a local judge and the civic leadership of Ottawa County. They recognized a community need to provide a safe and controlled environment for separated or divorced parents to exchange their children per their custody arrangement. Prior to this option, most parents were meeting at the police station, at a restaurant or in a parking lot in order to transfer the children. This resulted in frequent disagreements between the parents and/or guardians.
Within the environ of Joyful Connections, negative talk between parents and guardians about each other is not allowed. Reports from the facility have indicated that this tends to keep the peace between contentious parties while they are in front of their children and, most importantly, limits further harm to the children during an already stressful and difficult time. Over the years, the court has often considered the facility’s reports when determining appropriate custody and visitation decisions between divorced parents.
While these facilities are becoming increasingly common in Ohio and throughout the country, many may not have access to one. Child custody disagreements during divorce remain one of the most contentious issues that couples may face. It could benefit a person who is going through a divorce to seek guidance from an attorney who is experienced in family law and divorce litigation. An attorney whose practice focuses on these areas will be able to discuss various legal options available for parties who seek a divorce and are contending with custody issues.
Source: sanduskyregister.com, “Joyful Connections thrives in Ottawa County“, Patrick Pfanner, May 6, 2016