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Exchanging children: what is a "designated adult"?

When two parents have a child custody court order, a feature of the order is the designation of pickup and drop-off times for exchanges. Although a court will require an adult to be present at pickup and drop-off, the adult won’t necessarily be the parent themselves, because either parent can ask another adult to do their pickups and drop-offs for them.

A designated adult is any competent adult who is entrusted with the care and safety of the child as they travel to or from school or the other parent. 

Examples of who this person could be include, aren’t limited to:

  • A temporary guardian

  • An extended family member such as a grandparent

  • A family friend

Conservators do not get to decide who the other conservator selects to perform this duty, provided that the designated adult is competent and presents no danger to the child. In the event that one conservator believes the selected designated adult is not in the child’s best interest, they must bring that concern to the court. The judge presiding over the case will determine whether or not the concern is valid.


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