A lot of clients tell me that they want a 50/50 custody schedule. But they do not always know what that means. They may have heard good things about it from friends who use a 50/50 custody schedule. It also sounds fair, which is appealing. At its most basic level, a 50/50 custody schedule is where the parents share parenting time with the children equally. There are a couple of typical 50/50 custody schedules addressed below.
Who is 50/50 Custody Good For?
50/50 custody works well when both parents have been active and involved in the children’s lives. The children are used to their parents sharing responsibilities. They may have a hard time not seeing one parent as much as the other. So it makes sense to share the parenting time equally. 50/50 custody also works well for families where the parents are living close to each other. If the parents are living too far away, that can put a burden on the children. For example, you do not want the kids to have to spend an hour each way in the car to school half of their time. Another important factor to consider is how well the parents get along as co-parents. If they are able to get along reasonably well, that makes a 50/50 schedule easier than if there is a lot of conflict. You do not need all these factors present to do a 50/50 schedule, but they are important to consider.
The biggest benefit of a 50/50 schedule is that the children get to spend equal time with both parents. This gives them the opportunity to create strong bonds with both parents. It also means that both parents are responsible for some weekday and some weekend time. Neither parent is just the fun weekend parent.
What are Typical 50/50 Custody Schedules?
There are two basic 50/50 schedules. Week on/week off and 2-2-5-5. Week on/week off means that the parents alternate weeks. One parent has the children for a week, and then the other parent has the children for the next week. The children are typically exchanged either on Friday evenings or Sunday evenings. One benefit of a week on/week off schedule is that there is only one custody exchange per week. Some parents think a week apart is too long for the kids. If that is the case, you can add in a weekday dinner or overnight with the parent who does not have the kids that week. The week on/week off schedule tends to be better for older children in high school or middle school. Children that age have busy schedules with extracurricular activities and friends. It can be easier to only have a custody exchange once a week. Older children are also better at going longer periods of time without seeing the other parent.
The other most common type of 50/50 custody is 2-2-5-5. This means that one parent has the children every Monday and Tuesday night. The other parent has the children every Wednesday and Thursday night. The parents alternate having the children Friday through Sunday night. When you lay this out on a calendar over two weeks, it creates a 2-2-5-5 pattern. Parent A has two nights, then Parent B has two nights, then Parent A has five nights, then Parent B has five nights. Then the schedule starts over again with Parent A. A 2-2-5-5 schedule is generally best for younger children who need frequent contact with each parent. It can be hard for a young child to go a full week without seeing one of their parents.
What if I Want a Different 50/50 Schedule?
Although week on/week off and 2-2-5-5 are the primary types of 50/50 custody schedules, you are not limited to these options. You and your co-parent can get as creative as you want and design a schedule that works for you. But one of the reasons that these two schedules are so popular is that they create a lot of predictability. That is important for the children. If you have too complex a schedule, it can be difficult for the children to follow. So they do not know when they are going to be with each parent. It is also easy for parents to make plans, because the schedules are so simple. For example, if you need to plan a vacation a year from now, you can look at the calendar and see which parent’s time it will be.
If you think a 50/50 custody schedule is appropriate for your children, you can talk to your co-parent about it. But even if your co-parent does not agree, your lawyer can work to get you a 50/50 schedule in your custody case. Porchlight can help you get the schedule that is right for your kids. Call 678-435-9069 to discuss your options.