Oftentimes when you have a custody agreement, your agreement or order spells out specific times and meeting places for custody exchanges. Even the best crafted custody agreement, however, does not contemplate every situation that possibly could arise. In these circumstances, you must often make a judgement call. For example, if your child is burning up with a fever, it may not be in the best interest of your child to insist that they return to you for your designated custodial time. You may want to consider your child and let them rest until they are up for travel. With winter upon us, you may also find yourself required by your custody order to exchange your child in the middle of a snowstorm, or worse, blizzard. Again, you should use your best judgement in deciding whether to follow the custody agreement. This is why it is very important that parents be able to communicate with each other. Oftentimes, you will need to make accommodations for the other parent. You cannot expect a custody agreement or court order to resolve every possible scenario.
For those parents with an ex who threatens the police or court if the custody agreement is not followed when one of these emergency circumstances arise, I would suggest that you still exercise your best judgement. As long as it is a true emergency and you are no abusing the system and alleging your child is sick when in fact that are perfectly fine, it is not likely that you will be found in contempt but be prepared to prove it just in case. Take a photo of your child's temperature, get a copy of the weather report for your area. Always put the safety of your child and well being of your child first in an emergency circumstance. That being said, it may be a good idea if the other parent misses time due to snow or an illness that you offer make up time. The more you give, the more you get. Mother nature does not play favorites and it could easily happen on your time.