Managing handovers with your ex-partner

Handovers can be very difficult, especially if you are feeling awkward or upset at the prospect of facing your ex. You may have to exercise some self-control just to stay calm.

If you still have very raw feelings about your ex, you may be tempted to use handovers as an opportunity to speak your mind. Keep in mind that children are very sensitive to the feelings and attitudes around them and that they will pick up on conflict between their parents. For your children’s sake, it’s important to try and make handovers as pleasant as possible.

Some handover etiquette:

  • Be courteous.
  • Turn up on time – let the other parent know if you are delayed.
  • Make sure the children have everything they need.
  • Keep difficult conversations away from the children.
  • If you are struggling with this, consider alternative ways of managing the handovers so that your children are protected.

Dealing with change over time


Transitions are difficult for everyone, especially in the early days. Coming face-to-face with your ex and saying goodbye to your children can bring up some very difficult feelings. It can help to have something planned for the time immediately following the handover so that you can remain upbeat. While it’s hard now, you may eventually come to value the opportunity to have some space to yourself.

Children have their own feelings to cope with at handover time. They will need time to settle down, adjust to being in a different home, and get used to their mum or dad not being there. Transitions can be sad reminders to children that their parents aren't together anymore and it's not unusual for young children to come home from a weekend with the other parent in a bad mood. Understanding this can help you manage your expectations, and cope with any changes in your child's behaviour.

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