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7 Common parenting time schedules: Which is right for your family?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Child Custody, Family Law

One key decision that co-parenting ex-partners face is how to share custody of their children. The main goal is to look after the children’s well-being while keeping strong relationships with both parents.

Parents may divide their time with their child in a variety of ways. How might you organize your shared custody to meet your children’s needs and fit your own schedule?

1. Alternating weeks

One of the simplest custody schedules is alternating weeks. In this plan, the child lives with one parent for a week and then spends the next week with the other parent. This method is consistent and easy to understand. However, the child might feel disconnected from the other parent during their week away.

2. 2-2-5-5 rotation

The 2-2-5-5 schedule means the child won’t go too long without seeing either parent. They spend two days with one parent, then two days with the other. They then return to the first parent’s home for five days, and then spend five days with the other parent. This pattern repeats all year.

This schedule is a bit more complicated to manage. However, it offers a way for both parents to spend equal time with their child while having time both on weekdays and weekends.

3. 3-4-4-3 rotation

Similar to the 2-2-5-5, the 3-4-4-3 schedule provides a balanced approach. The child spends three days with one parent, then four days with the other. The next week, the total days reverse so that each parent spends a total of seven days with their child over two weeks. This schedule can keep transitions from feeling too sudden.

4. Weekdays/weekends

Another popular plan is for one parent to have the children during the weekdays and the other during the weekends. This arrangement can work well if the parents have busy work schedules during the week. However, one parent might miss school activities and homework, while the other misses weekend activities.

5. Split weeks

Splitting the week is another option. In this schedule, the child spends part of the week, from Sunday to Wednesday, with Parent A, and then from Wednesday to Saturday with Parent B. This consistent schedule offers the child a sense of structure and provides both parents time with their child on weekdays and weekends.

6. Alternating weekends

Alternating weekends can be effective when parents live far apart or one has a demanding work schedule. In this setup, the child lives with one parent during the week. They then spend every other weekend with the other parent.

This schedule limits the time the weekend parent has with the child. However, parents may add midweek visits or calls to maintain a strong parent-child relationship.

7. 2/2/3 rotation

The 2/2/3 rotation schedule ensures that children never spend a long time away from either parent. This arrangement works by having the child spend two days with Parent A, then two days with Parent B, followed by three days with Parent A. The next week, the schedule flips

The 2/2/3 schedule allows the child to have frequent and regular contact with both parents. However, the frequent exchanges require effective communication between parents.

When choosing a shared custody arrangement, parents must consider many details. With careful thought, parents can create a schedule that ensures that their child feels secure and supported despite the changes in their family.