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What a shared custody schedule might look like

When people think of custody disputes, they often think of the arguments that arise when it comes to assigning sole versus joint custody. However, in many cases, custody battles aren't over who has custody, but rather when each person has parenting time. 

There are numerous models of what a custody schedule might look like. Below, we discuss some common options that you can consider.

Possible schedules

For parents with equal or near-equal parenting time, consider: 

  • Alternating weeks, where a child spends a week with one parent and then a week with the other parent.
  • A 4-3 schedule, where a child spends four days with one parent then 3 days with the other parent.
  • A 3-4-4-3 schedule, where a child stays with one parent for three days, then the other parent for four days. It switches the next week.

In cases where there is a 70/30 or 80/20 balance of parenting time, a child might:

  • Stay with one parent for all but one week (or weekend) per month
  • Spend weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other parent
  • Live with one parent during the school year and live with the other during the summer

Factors to consider

In deciding which type of schedule might work best for you, you should consider numerous critical factors.

First, consider your child's age and needs. Is it better for him or her to see parents more frequently, or for longer periods of time? What does he or she prefer to do?

Also think about the logistics of transportation and custody exchanges. How close do parents live? Would frequent shifts disrupt a child's school schedule? 

Finally, consider your capabilities as parents. Do you travel for work on the weekends? Are you able to pick up a child from daycare or school during the week?

Finding what works best for you, your child

Discussing these and other details is crucial, as they will affect which custody schedule is most appropriate. You can also discuss the options with a custody specialist and an experienced attorney familiar with all types of custody schedules. After having these conversations, it can be easier to figure out a plan that works best for everyone.

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