When considering physical custody of your children, there’s almost an endless number of different schedules to choose from. If you and the other parent can reach an agreement without going to trial, you can use whichever schedule works best for your situation. Below are a few of the most popular custodial schedules with examples so you can decide which schedule is right for you and your children.
Alternating Weeks: This is one of the simplest schedules to follow. If you choose this one, one parent will have the children for a week while the other has them the next week. For example, Parent1 will pick the children up Friday afternoon and have them the entire week. Parent2 will pick the children up the next Friday afternoon and enjoy the same amount of time with them.
While this schedule is simple, it does mean one parent goes without seeing the children for a week. To help, parents usually agree the non-custodial parent can have a weeknight visit with the children.
2-2-3: A popular option for parents who want to share equal time, this schedule allows the children to see both parents more frequently than the alternating weeks schedule and, unlike some schedules, makes sure both parents enjoy weekends with the children. For example, Parent1 gets the children Monday and Tuesday while Parent2 gets them Wednesday and Thursday. Parent1 then gets the children over the three-day weekend. The schedule reverses the next week. Parent2 gets the children Monday and Tuesday, Parent1 gets them Wednesday and Thursday, and Parent 2 has them for the three-day weekend.
While this schedule works well for young children, it may not work as well for children who are in school. Also, because the parents meet frequently to exchange the children, it doesn’t work as well if you’re in a high-conflict situation. However, if the children are school age or go to the same daycare no matter which parent has custody, you can schedule the time to drop the children off at daycare or school as the custodial exchange to cut down on interaction with the other parent.
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Alternating Weekends: This is a popular option in situations where one parent has primary physical custody. However, it can be modified to suit your needs. The traditional alternating weekends schedule allows Parent1 to have the children Monday through Friday afternoon and Parent2 to have the children Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. Parent 1 then has the children Sunday evening until the next Friday afternoon (about twelve days) when Parent2 picks the children up again. However, if it works for your situation, Parent2 can have the children every other Thursday through Sunday, Wednesday through Sunday, or drop the children off at school Monday morning for an extra overnight.
With this schedule, Parent2 doesn’t see the children for extended periods of time. Because of that, if Parent2 lives close by, they usually receive either a dinner or overnight visit during the week they don’t have custody on the weekend.
These are just a few of the most popular custodial schedules. But everyone’s situation is unique. If you’d like to create the right custody schedule for your situation, contact our office today to make an appointment with one of our experienced family law attorneys. They’ll listen to you discuss your needs and help you come up with the best plan for you and your family.