More and more parents today are moving away from the traditional custody agreements that consist of a custodial and non-custodial parent. Instead they are opting for shared parenting and shared child custody situations. In a shared or joint custody agreement, both parents have almost equal physical custody time with their children. And, both parents are responsible for making the important decisions in the child’s life. Here the focus is on raising the children.
Shared custody is a valiant attempt by both parents to be involved in their child’s life–for the benefit of the child. Because shared custody heavily involves both parents–and doesn’t mean that one parent has the kids almost all of the time with occasional visits to the other parent–there are certain issues that can arise in a joint custody agreement. The biggest challenge in a shared parenting agreement is the difficulty in creating a working schedule that revolves around both parent’s and the children.
Here are some Shared Parenting Plans that are proven to work:
1. 2/2/3 Custody Schedule. In this custody schedule, one parent has the child for two days, the other parent has the child for the next two days, and then the child goes back to the parent for a three day weekend. It ends up working out that each parent has two days with the child during the week and the parents alternate with a long weekend. Here is a calendar view to make it more clear.
You can see with this schedule that the parents have an equal amount of time with the children. It is a two week rotating schedule and it is usually a good arrangement if parents want to alternate weekends. There is more switching back and forth than a 3/3/4/4 and a 2/2/5/5 custody schedule. If the parents live close by and the child does all right with the changes then this arrangement may work very well for you.
2. Variations on Alternating Weeks. Alternating weeks of custody is the simplest shared parenting schedule. However, the drawback of this schedule is that a parent doesn’t see the children for an entire week. To make this work, many parents take the basic alternating week schedule and add some variations to it. A common thing to do is to add an evening visit during the week with the other parent.
You can see that the visit allows the other parent some time during the week with the other parent so it isn’t too long. You could also make this an overnight visit if you wanted.
This could also be labeled a 4/1/2 rotating schedule. You don’t really see that as a common term though–it’s easier to just think of it as alternating weeks of custody with an overnight visit.
The pattern that emerges with all of these schedules, is that to make a shared parenting arrangement, simply divide up a week or two week time period equally between the parents. Then you can have that be your repeating cycle. You can set up anything that works for you.