With Hurricane Doraine creeping up the North Carolina coast, you may be wondering what to do with a custodial exchange in a hurricane.

When a hurricane is looming, custody exchanges can be complicated.  There are always questions of safety and risk when making the decision to travel during a severe storm.  Below are a few things to consider with exchanges during bad weather.

  1. Your children’s safety should always be a top priority.  Make sure if you are demanding a custodial exchange take place, it is safe to do so.
  2. If you have a custodial order, look to see if it anticipates bad weather.  If it does, follow the order the the extent possible.  Often times custodial orders outline what to do in the event of bad weather or not being able to travel due to an “exigent circumstance”.
  3. Be informed and make a plan.  If you know a storm is coming, then contact your co-parent.  Try to make a plan in advance to avoid having a dispute at the last minute or after the exchange should have occurred.  In the event motions are filed later for contempt, you can at least show a judge you made efforts to find another solution.
  4. COMMUNICATE with your co-parent.  Talk about a plan for missed days, making up missed days, and communicating when there is a safe time to travel.  Also make sure you are keeping your co-parent informed that you and the children are safe.  Think about what you would want to know if your co-parent would have the children during a dangerous storm.  If you have a parenting coordinator and you cannot agree on a plan with your co-parent, reach out to the parenting coordinator for a decision.
  5. Remember that bad weather isn’t an excuse to avoid an exchange.  If the storm does not make traveling dangerous or there is a clear window to exchange (maybe earlier than usual), make sure you aren’t using the storm to avoid the exchange.  This behavior can come back to work against you in a future hearing for custody or a trial on contempt for not following the court order.

If you have question regarding a custodial exchange during a hurricane, call our office to speak with our experienced Raleigh family lawyer!

Related Resources: 5 Considerations When Filing for ContemptWhat Is Contempt of Court in Family Law Cases?Ways to Avoid Seeing Your Ex for Custody Exchanges