Shared custody includes both shared physical custody and shared legal custody.
Physical custody includes actual time spent with the child in your control.
Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about the child, which typically include educational, religious, and medical decisions.
50/50 physical custody, or split custody, is becoming a more popular choice for parents and their children. It is also becoming more likely that the Court will order a 50/50 custody arrangement if it is possible (ie. parents live near each other, work schedules permit, it will not interfere with school, etc.).
Equally shared custody time may have many benefits for both the parents and the child. The greatest benefit is your children are a meaningful and important part of both parents lives. Both parents can be involved in the many aspects of the child’s life.
Below are four common 50/50 custody schedules:
Alternating Weeks- This schedule is a two-week rotation where the child spends one week with you and one week with the other parent. You can choose the date and time of the exchange. This is a great schedule for a child who needs to spend more time at each home and not is constantly going back and forth. The downside of this schedule is you don’t get to see your child for an entire week. You can provide for an evening visit during the week for the parent that doesn’t have custody.
2-2-3 Schedule– This schedule is also a two-week rotation. The first week one parent has the child for two days, then the other parent has the child for two days, and finally, the first parent has the last three days (usually a weekend). The second week the time switches to the second parent has the first two days and the weekend. You can also implement a 2-3-2 schedule just as easily.
This is a great schedule because the child is able to spend time at both homes each week. However, to successfully follow the schedule, the parents need to live close to each other and the child must be able to keep up with school/other activities while going back and forth frequently.
3-4-4-3 Schedule– This schedule is a two-week rotation. The first week one parent gets the child for the first three days of the week. The second parent gets four days with the child. The next week the first parent gets four days and the second parent gets three.
The benefit of this schedule is each parent knows they have the first part of the week or the last part of the week. There is very little changing of this schedule except on Wednesday. Many families find this works well if they desire a stable, unchanging schedule. Your child also has a more stable routine than other shared custody schedules available.
The downfall of this schedule is one parent has every weekend or you have to have the custody exchange during the weekend. This may work for you, especially where one parent works on the weekends. If you do decide to go with this schedule, make sure you provide for exceptions that allow weekends for family reunions and special events.
5-2-2-5 Parenting Schedule- Another common 50/50 child custody schedule is a 5-2-2-5 schedule. This parenting schedule is where the child is with Parent A every Monday and Tuesday (2 days) and Parent B every Wednesday and Thursday (2 days). The weekends from Friday through Sunday would be alternated (3 days) between the parents. The child will be with the parent whose weekend it is for 5 days and the other parent 2 days. Because the weekend time alternates from week to week, the child would end up spending 50% time with both parents.
This parenting schedule allows for the children to spend an equal amount of time with both parents during the week and on weekends. It also affords the children to spend a longer block of time with each parent with only a few transitions between homes throughout the month. This 50/50 child custody arrangement is more often seen in cases where the children are a little bit older and can go without seeing either parent for five consecutive days.
Often time it is impossible or impracticable to have a 50/50 shared custody schedule during the school year because the parents live too far apart, work schedules do not allow for it or daycare or childcare is an issue. It may, however, be possible for you to implement a shared 50/50 custody schedule in the summer months when school is not in session.
There are many more 50/50 shared custody schedule examples available then those above. You always have the ability to make a unique schedule which fits your life. As always try to be reasonable and compromise when possible but always keep the best interest of your child in mind.