When choosing a custody schedule, it's important to find a routine that works for your entire family. Some things to consider include both parents' work schedules, your kids' school schedules, extra-curricular activities, and even traffic if you live more than 30 miles apart. Each custody schedule shown here allows both parents to enjoy 50% of the parenting time.
This is a popular custody schedule for parents who share 50/50 child custody. With this plan the children would live at mom's house one week, and then dad's house the next week, and so on. Many families choose to make the transition on Fridays, but you could choose whatever day of the week works best for you.
You may need to swap some weeks in order to ensure that both parents receive at least one vacation week during the school year.
Some parents who start out with alternating weeks find that as their children get older, they need to change their custody schedule to accommodate the kids' school and social commitments.
Alternating Weeks With an Evening Visit
Many families add a mid-week evening visit to their alternating weeks schedule, so that the child never goes a full week without seeing either parent. The sample schedule shown here has that mid-week visit taking place on Tuesdays, but you can choose whatever day works best for your family.
Alternating Weeks With a Mid-Week Overnight
With this schedule, the children alternate residences one day a week (usually on Fridays), but enjoy one mid-week overnight with the other parent. The calendar shown here has the mid-week overnight visit taking place on Tuesday nights, but you can choose the night that works best for your situation.
A 2-2-3 Day Rotation
With this custody schedule, the children reside with Parent A for two days, Parent B for two days, and then spend a long three-day weekend with Parent A. The next week, the routine flips and the children reside with Parent B for two days, then Parent A for two days, before spending a long three-day weekend with Parent B. The advantage of this plan is that the parents get to alternate weekends, but the child is still spending 50% of the time with each parent.
A 3-3-4-4 Day Rotation
With this shared parenting schedule, the children spend three days with Parent A, three days with Parent B, and then four days with Parent A, followed by another four days with Parent B. The advantage is that the children are always at one residence on Sundays through Tuesdays, and at the other residence on Wednesdays through Fridays. The only day that changes from week to week is Saturdays.
A 2-2-5-5 Day Routine
This routine is similar to 3-3-4-4, but the children reside with Parent A for two days, then Parent B for two days, followed by five days with Parent A and then five days with Parent B. Like the 3-3-4-4 day rotation, this schedule allows the children to always spend Sundays through Mondays in one residence, and Tuesdays through Wednesdays at the other. This way, the only days that fluctuate from week to week are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Whatever custody schedule you choose, remember to give everyone in your family time to adjust before making changes. Making the plan formal by writing it into an official parenting plan will help everyone stick to the plan, as well. And consider revisiting the plan annually to make sure that the schedule continues to meet all of your needs.