One of the first and most important steps of a divorce involving children is establishing a split parenting schedule. While a simple 50/50 custody schedule may be where you and your co-parent agree, the actual logistics of it are significantly more complex and involved than at first sight. If you are working on your parenting schedule, consider one of the following arrangements to get started.
What is a 50/50 Custody Schedule?
The purpose of a custody schedule in your parenting plan is to ensure your children maintain a relationship with both parents, as long as it’s in their best interest to do so. In most amicable divorces, both parties agree that the children involved should see each parent an equal amount of time; this is often called a 50/50 custody schedule. While the 50/50 custody schedule is ideal, the logistical problem presents itself when it’s time to decide how exactly this time will be split.
Many parents find themselves settling into the biweekly routine when they mutually agree upon a 50/50 custody schedule. Depending upon your situation, you can choose to switch who your children will stay with every other week or every two weeks. The main factors you should consider when deciding which of these two split custody schedules are distance from each other and your childrens’ schools, the age and needs of the children, their extracurricular activities, your and your co-parent’s work schedules, and school holidays. If you worry about going a week or two without seeing your children, you can always include a mid-week overnight or share a dinner or meal out together to break up the time spent apart, or phone calls and video visits.
2-2-3 Split Parenting Schedule
If either you or your co-parent would like to see the children more frequently than every one or two weeks, the 2-2-3 split parenting schedule may be a better option for your situation. With this arrangement, one parent has the children for two days, the other has them for two days, then the original parent gets the kids back for three days. The following week, the second parent starts the cycle over. Some parents may not be able to accommodate for this schedule because of the constant transitions and transportation involved.
A great alternative that still falls under the 2-2-3 schedule would be to have each parent have the children for set days each week (you get Mondays and Tuesday, your co-parent gets Wednesdays and Thursdays), then you alternate the weekends between the two households.
The 2-2-5-5 Schedule
The 2-2-5-5 is a type of 50/50 custody schedule that is similar to the 2-2-3 arrangement in how the first four days are shared. However, instead of following the split with three days with one parent, you switch to a ten day duration, distributed evenly between the two co-parents. Additionally, you can change this to a 5-2-2-5 or a 2-5-2-5 split if this works better for you, your co-parents, and your children’s schedules.
The 3-3-4-4 Schedule
The 3-3-4-4 split custody schedule is similar to the 2-2-5-5 arrangement, but it maintains more evenly distributed visits. Instead of just getting a couple days with your children in a particular week, you get more parenting time with them each week, making general outing and activity planning a little easier. Another variation of this is the 3-4-4-3 split parenting schedule. You can choose to practice one over the other, or be flexible in rearranging your routine should a one-time scheduling change suddenly occur.
Uneven Schedule Rotations & Other 50/50 Schedules
While any one or a combination of these split custody schedules are often the ideal arrangement and the intention of any co-parent to stick to big life events, work schedules, and transportation conflicts can easily derail even the best laid plan. In these instances, it may be easiest to shift to an uneven schedule or a more flexible 50/50 split temporarily until you have the ability to maintain a standard schedule again.
However, there’s a variety of different ways to compose a timesharing schedule that can meet the needs of both parents and the children. Finding one that works best for you can be difficult.
At the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer, we understand that every family is different and creating a parenting plan is often one of the most complicated decisions you have to make during your divorce. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team of family lawyers have worked with couples across New Mexico to make sure that their children’s needs are put first while planning split custody schedules. Contact our office to chat with an expert in the field and get started today.