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What Custody Schedule Will Work Best For You?

co-parenting divorce ex kids first Nov 25, 2020

Twelve months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours or 525,600 minutes. That’s how long one year is...sans leap years. That’s a lot of time for you and your ex to figure out who has the kids.

How you break down your custody schedule ultimately comes down to what’s best for your kids, with respect to work schedules. But starting from scratch can be daunting, so here are a few popular models to move things along. 

Split Custody (50/50)

There are several common schedule templates for when you split custody 50/50 with your ex.

2-2-5-5

This model spans two weeks, giving each parent seven of those 14 days with what amounts to be a two-day break smushed inside.

Parent 1 (in this case the green dates) has five days on, two off, two on to account for their seven-day span. Parent 2 (blue dates) has two days on, two off, five on to make up their seven-day span.

As you can see, both parents get the same amount of time. The only difference is which parent’s two days off comes before or after their five days on.

Every 2 Days

Pros: Both parents see the kids every two days and for two days. Over the course of a month, parents each get time on the weekends.

Cons: This model is independent of days of the week, so which days you have your kids is constantly changing, making work schedules and regular social events difficult to keep consistent.

Every 3 Days

Adding a third day to the alternating schedule provides a little more structure. Each parent knows they will have the same three days of the week 75 percent of the time. 

For example, Parent 1 has the kids Friday, Saturday and Sunday three out of every four weeks, while Parent 2 gets Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the same amount. This model works well if one parent consistently works weekends, or is unavailable most of the weekdays.

2-2-3

In this model, parents alternate weekdays on and two weekdays off, with Fridays counting as the third day of the weekend. The parent who has the kids Monday and Tuesday of a given week, also gets the kids that upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 Alternate weekdays, alternate weekends

One parent gets Mondays and Wednesdays while the other gets Tuesdays and Thursdays and they alternate every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This model works best for parents who live nearby, because it’s a lot of shuttling back and forth during the week for the kids.

3-4-4-3

“You take the left side of the calendar and I’ll take the right.” 

 In this model, parents split the week in half — one gets Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and one gets Thursday, Friday, Saturday, with Wednesdays alternating between the two.

Alternating Weeks

One week on, one off. This works if both parents live in or near the same school district. Anecdotally, parents who employ this model often have one or two days per week where the kids see the other parent, for a meal or at a practice or a game, etc. A week without your kids is a long time.

Two Weeks Each

Two weeks without your kids probably feels like forever. This model of 50/50 custody is probably best for the summer months or times of the year in which families take vacations.

Split Custody (60/40)

Every Weekend & One Weeknight per week

This is simple: One parent gets Monday through Thursday and the other parent gets Friday through Sunday. This works for parents who live farther apart or for when one parent is unavailable either during the week or on weekends because of work obligations.

This model could also work with Friday custody moving mid-week. One parent would get both weekend days and every Wednesday, giving the other parent one weekday without the kids and Fridays for when they want to schedule something to do that’s not on a school night.

Split/Partial Custody (70/30)

Every Weekend

The same as the 60/40 model above but without the additional day. One gets every weekend, one gets every weekday.

Every other weekend & one weekday per week

The parent with 30 percent custody, in this model, would get every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with two additional weekdays per month. The calendar above shows options for either an additional Thursday or Monday to extend their respective weekends.

Another model gives the parent with 30 percent custody one weekday, on weeks they do not have the kids that weekend.

Partial Custody (80/20)

Every other weekend

This is pretty straightforward. 

Every third week 

Rather than getting the kids every other weekend, in this model the parent with 20 percent custody would get the kids for six consecutive days over the course of a month. This is another option that would be good for summer vacay time.

Full Custody

Visitation once a month, etc.

If this is your situation then you probably know what the calendar looks like. 

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