A Guide to Creating an Effective Joint Custody Schedule

mom with kids

Joint custody entails both parents having a say in the major decisions in their child’s life. This includes things like education, religion, and medical care. Joint physical custody means the child will spend time living in both homes, although it might not be an even 50/50 split.

There is no one right way to do joint custody, but there are some example schedules that work well for many parents. The joint custody schedules below provide nearly equal time for children with both parents. You can customize these schedules to better suit your family’s needs.

Here’s a quick guide to creating a joint custody schedule that works for all parties involved.

Alternating 

Each parent spends one week at a time with the children, and then the children spend the next week with the other parent. This schedule repeats itself. Remember that joint physical custody schedules typically require children to have access to fully functional bedrooms and living spaces in each of their parents’ homes.

This schedule is ideal for children who can be used to being away from a parent for a whole week. As always, we recommend consulting your child about this joint custody schedule before choosing such.

Alternating With Midweek Visits

This specific schedule is often preferred by families who do not want the children to be away from either parent for more than a few days. If you have kids involved in extracurricular activities, having a midweek visit might be more challenging. 

It’s important to be present in your children’s lives, but that doesn’t mean you have to be there all the time. You can still be a part of their lives by being creative with your schedule and making time for them in your busy life without disrupting their daily routine.

With this schedule, the children spend one night a week at each parent’s house and have one overnight visit with the other parent in the middle of the week. The midweek overnight visit can be on any night that works better with your kids’ and your schedules.

Again, it’s important to let kids have a say in their custody schedule when they reach upper elementary school age and above. This gives them a sense of control and makes them feel like they are part of the decision-making process. Allowing them to choose which activities they want to do with each parent, or which days of the week work best for them shows that you value their opinion and are willing to work around their needs.

Note that overnight stays away from home can be tough on young children, as they may have difficulty forming attachments. This could lead to issues later on in life. However, for older children, this is not typically a problem. It is crucial to take into account the age and needs of your kid when establishing a joint custody schedule. 

2-2-3 

With this type of custody schedule, the children alternate between living with Parent A and Parent B for two days at a time. The children spend a long three-day weekend with either Parent A or Parent B every other weekend.

This type of parenting schedule might work best for parents who live close to each other and for younger children who can adapt to changes in their routine easily but still want a lot of time with each parent. However, it is worth considering that this arrangement can be disruptive for kids since they might feel like they are constantly packing up and moving to the other parent’s house.

3-3-4-4 

This plan is also a good option because children always know which parent they will be with on which days. It is also good because it allows both parents to have equal time with their children.

The schedule for each parent having the kids changes every week, with Saturdays always the day that switches. This means that each parent always has one weekend day with their children. Having a longer time with each parent may be less disruptive for kids. 

Conclusion 

It is important to have a detailed parenting schedule when you have joint custody of children. This schedule should be put into an official parenting plan, which will likely become part of your custody agreement. Having a clear plan with a detailed schedule makes it easier for everyone involved to understand your goals and determine if your schedule is in the children’s best interest.

Do you need a child custody lawyer in Langley? Turn to Dreyer and Associates. We are committed to preserving the best interests of families across the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland. Book a consultation with us today!

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