While divorcing parents might build contingencies for illness, holidays and school events into a parenting time schedule, there are certain factors that often get overlooked. In the Upper Midwest, parents must take the time during the divorce process to have a conversation regarding severe weather and how it might impact a custody exchange.

Numerous visitation schedules require parents to set up transportation or a location for a custody exchange. In Minnesota, however, violent weather patterns are common during the winter months and can affect the safety of both the parent and the child. Here are three tips Minnesotans should remember as we quickly move into the winter months.

  1. Monitor the weather: We all get into the habit of keeping an eye on the extended forecast to see if it might affect our work or travel plans. The same is true for a custody exchange. If you know you must have your child at mom’s house by five o’clock on Friday, you’ll need to account for traffic snarls and poor driving conditions. Additionally, you should be aware of the different terms you might see on the news. A winter storm watch means that conditions are favorable for bad weather. A winter storm warning means that severe conditions will occur in the near future.
  2. Vehicle preparations: It’s important to keep your car maintained in even the best of conditions but driving your child around in the winter should take priority. Maintain the proper fluid levels, including gasoline, as well as the air pressure in your tires. You could also keep a safety kit in the vehicle in case disaster strikes. A box containing food, water, flashlights, blankets, spare clothing and first aid is a good thing to maintain.
  3. Stay communicative: If you are concerned about weather conditions, contact your ex. Discuss the possibility of changing the time – either earlier or later – so you can make the custody exchange Don’t wait until the last minute to suggest a revision.

It is easy for events to quickly become overwhelming. With poor weather on the horizon, it is crucial that you work ahead to ensure your safety as well as the safety of your child.