Creating and implementing a custody schedule is not necessarily an easy task. Nevertheless, it is one of the matters that couples confront during a divorce that is often most important to them. Most parents love their children tremendously. This means that both during the divorce and after, they want to continue to spend as much quality time with their children as they can. As a result, truly thinking through what custody schedule might work best is essential for most families.
Most parents can obtain peace of mind with respect to how they might want to think through and address their custody issues by considering commonly used custody schedules and thinking through which might be best for their family. Let’s take a look at a few together.
- Alternating weeks: In an alternating week schedule, Parent One typically has the child for a week, followed by Parent Two having the child for a week, and so on. Many parents like this schedule because it is consistent and requires minimal transition, as well as allowing each parent both weekend and weekday time with the children. In other cases, however, some parents feel that the week-on-week-off schedule is just enough time for this child to settle in at one parent’s home before they are transitioned to the other parent’s residence. This can cause a child to feel as if they are never truly getting into a routine and can, in some cases, create anxiety as a result. As a result, some families find this schedule to be easier for children who are a little older and can adjust to transitions more easily.
- 2-2-3: In a 2-2-3 schedule, Parent One will have the children for two weekdays, followed by Parent Two having the children for two weekdays, and parents alternate who will have the children over the weekend. Parents who choose this type of schedule often like it because it allows a fair split of both weekend and weekday time and parents and children get to see one another fairly frequently. Like an alternating week schedule, frequent transitions don’t necessarily work for every family. Sometimes they can be difficult for young children. On the other side of the coin, however, some families with young children like the 2-2-3 schedule because it allows younger children to have frequent bonding time with both parents. Again, determining what might work best will be largely dependent upon your own family dynamic and circumstances.
- Extended weekend: In an extended weekend schedule, Parent One will have the children from Friday afternoon through Monday morning, and Parent Two will have the children from Monday afternoon through Friday morning. This schedule is popular because it allows for extended time with both parents each week. On the downside, the weekend parent may find it difficult to have quality time with the children during the week. This can often be addressed by scheduling a midweek visit – perhaps a dinner, or a parent picking the children up from school one day and keeping them until bedtime. Additionally, the parent who only has weekends may attend practices or games, or other events to get extra time with the children if both parents agree and the schedule allows.
While these schedules work well in cases where parents share joint physical custody, in some situations, this is not the case. Instead, the parents have agreed, or the court has ordered, a sole custody situation where one parent has physical custody and the other parent has visitation. This is often a solution implemented when one parent lives far away or travels a great deal, or where other circumstances prevent joint custody. Understandably, the parent who is not the custodial parent may worry about losing connection with the child or missing important events, but the right visitation schedule can help to address those worries and work toward continuing a strong parent-child bond going forward.
Some common visitation arrangements include:
- Weekends, summer, and holidays: In this type of arrangement, Parent One, the primary physical custodian, will have the child during the week for the majority of the time. The non-custodial parent may have visitation with the child over long weekends, holidays, or summer breaks. This arrangement allows the non-custodial parent to have some quality time with the child without having to compromise scheduling for work or school. Additionally, if the non-custodial parent has a busy work schedule or lives far away, this arrangement may be an ideal solution. Parents who implement this sort of visitation should be aware, however, that young children may find it unsettling to spend the evening in an unfamiliar home, at least initially. As a result, it is important to pay attention to the needs of the child and ensure the child is comfortable with the home and the arrangement before it is implemented.
- Weekday visitation schedule: In this type of schedule, the child will primarily live with the custodial parent but will have consistent visitation time with a non-custodial parent. This may mean that Parent Two has scheduled visits of a few hours at a time each week. Although this can be difficult to arrange timewise, many parents find that they can do so if they communicate and cooperate effectively.
These are only two examples of many. if parents choose to create their own custody agreement and do so out of court, they can truly create any arrangement that best fits their needs. Many parents choose to do so because they want the freedom and flexibility of creating a custody schedule that truly works best for their families. As long as both parents can work together, the options for creative custody arrangements are limitless.
In the end, what is truly the “best” schedule is the schedule that works best for a particular family is one that puts the children first and fits the family’s needs. This will look different for every family – and that’s how it should be. Every family is different, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
To ensure that you have created a schedule that will truly be ideal for your family as you move toward the next chapter, it is essential to find an attorney who knows and understands the law and can help you through the process to ensure that your agreement truly reflects your desires. At the Law Office of Dustin McCrary, we’re here for you.
CALL THE LAW OFFICE OF DUSTIN MCCRARY TODAY
At The Law Office of Dustin McCrary, we understand every aspect of divorce law. In fact, it’s all we do. That’s why we can confidently offer you the compassionate, skilled, excellent representation that you need as you navigate each and every issue involved during your divorce. Divorce isn’t an easy journey, but the good news is that it can be the beginning of a better and brighter chapter ahead. We’re here to help you get there. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call. We look forward to speaking with you soon.