In child custody or visitation cases, both parents will make a parenting plan, which is an agreement that includes details about:
- Time-sharing (i.e. the schedule concerning when your child will be with each parent)
- Decision-making (i.e. how decisions will be made regarding your child’s education, health, welfare, upbringing, etc.)
Common Time-Sharing Arrangements for Co-Parents
If parents have joint physical custody, they will still need to determine what type of time-sharing plan will work best for them as well as their child. In this article, we will discuss common types of time-sharing plans and factors that can affect which plan your family may best enjoy. And, of course a parenting plan can be drafted to meet your family’s specific needs. Attorney Schneider loves helping parents come up with the right schedule for their family.
Popular types of time-sharing plans include the:
- 2-3-3 schedule. With this schedule, parents will alternate spending two days, two days, and then three days with their child. During the first week, Parent A would have the child Sunday-Monday, and Parent B would have the child Tuesday-Wednesday. Then Parent A would again have physical custody of the child the last three days of the week. The following week, Parent B would have physical custody for the first two days and the final three days. This cycle would continue to rotate excluding holiday schedule changes. The 2-3-3 plan is best for parents and children who do not mind having a lot of exchanges as this plan involves a lot of back and forth.
- 2-2-5-5 schedule. With this plan, each parent spends two and then five days with their child. Parent A will have physical custody of their child on Sunday and Monday, and Parent B will have physical custody Tuesday and Wednesday. Then Parent A will spend five days (Thursday-Monday) with the child, and Parent B will then have Tuesday-Saturday. Then, the pattern will repeat. Unlike the 2-2-3 plan, this schedule involves fewer exchanges, which can help both parents and children rest and save on transportation fees.
- Week-on/week-off schedule. With this schedule, your child lives with each parent on alternating weeks. Adolescents or parents with busier schedules may appreciate only having one exchange per week. But, you may miss your child on the week you don’t see them.
- 70-30 schedule. While one parent will have physical custody for 11 days, the other parent will then have custody for three days. With this schedule, Parent B (who only has three days) can also have a midweek visit, and weekends should be alternated. Parents who live farther apart or who have demanding work schedules can benefit from this arrangement.
- 3-4-4-3 schedule. Under this plan, Parent A will have the child for three days, and for the following four days, Parent B will have custody. Then, Parent A will have the child for four days, and for the next three days, Parent B will have custody. With this plan, the weeks are basically divided evenly.
How to Determine Which Schedule Works Best for Your Family
The joint time-sharing plan that works best for your family differs based on a variety of factors, and what works for one family may not work for another. As we mentioned, different schedules work better based on each parent’s schedule and your child’s specific needs. Keep in mind, these cookie cutter plans look good on paper but often don’t work for busy families. They need modification. In addition to these factors, you should account for the following considerations when trying to decide which plan you should enact.
Depending on how old your child is (as well as their developmental age), they will have different needs that can affect which schedule will work best for them. While younger children need more consistency and benefit from consistent interaction with both parents, older children may need a more flexible schedule.
Here are some age-related concerns you should be aware of when making a time-sharing plan.
- Infants and toddlers are still developing attachments and building their trust in their parents, which is why they need consistency. Plans, where the child does not see either party for an extended period, can negatively impact the parent-child relationship.
- Infants typically need to be fed consistently throughout the night, which can complicate plans. Visits for a few hours rather than overnights may be best for this age group.
- Children between the ages of three and five are learning how to understand the passage of time and can have difficulties with exchanges. A parenting plan that limits the number of exchanges is typically best for them.
- Children between the ages of six and nine may struggle with separation anxiety. However, multiple types of parenting plans will still work for this age group. Parents should consider incorporating time for a phone or video chat with the other parent while the child is with them.
- And then there are teenagers…….
The Best Interest of the Child
A parenting plan should consider the child’s best interests including their emotional and security-related needs. If your child has educational concerns, they should also be considered. In determining your child’s best wishes, you can contemplate:
- Their expressed wishes.
- Their relationships with siblings who live with either parent.
- Each parent’s capacity to provide for their child’s basic physical and emotional needs
- The child’s mental health needs
- Each parent’s mental and physical needs
Each Parent’s Current Responsibilities
Which time-sharing schedule works best for you can also be dependent on what each parent is responsible for currently. Make a list of what each parent handles as it relates to day-to-day childcare tasks like school pick-ups and drop-offs, the bedtime routine, homework help, etc. Then make another list of non-regular tasks each party handles like medical appointments.
Contact The Law Offices of Andrea Schneider
If you need help determining what type of time-sharing plan will work best, customizing your plan or need help with your child custody or visitation-related matter, our La Mesa child custody attorney is equipped to assist you. With over two and half decades of experience, Attorney Schneider is committed to helping clients successfully navigate their cases from start to finish.
To learn more about how our firm can help you, complete our online contact form or call (619) 304-8499 to schedule a consultation today.