The Hastings City Hall parking lot is a secure place for divorced parents to exchange children according to their custody agreements, Hastings Police Chief Jeff Pratt said. City Attorney Stephanie Fekkes asked Pratt, Judge William Doherty and the Family Court to work on finding a safe and secure site for parenting exchanges.
Parents now meet in many different places in and around Hastings to exchange children and there have been some conflicts, Pratt said.
Doherty, Referee Vicky Alspaugh, Fekkes and Pratt agreed the Hastings City Hall parking lot was a good exchange location, since the parking lot has monitoring cameras and a call box to contact police.
“The issues involving parental exchanges for parenting times has been a longstanding problem. No matter where these exchanges take place there is always a potential for issues to arise,” Pratt said.
“Often times the relationship between the parents is not strong enough to provide the exchange to happen at their perspective residences so there needs to be a neutral site. A neutral site may not be needed long term but it does provide a chance for emotions to calm down.”
“Parenting time exchanges have often taken place in the parking lot so this will be nothing new, however, I would expect to see an increase in people using our parking lot for a safe and secure exchange location,” he added.