Finding a Parenting Time Schedule That Suits Your Family
After a divorce or legal separation involving children, it is common for one parent to have custody and the other to be allowed to spend time with the children on a regular schedule. This is known as parenting time, and in Arizona, a court will encourage the spouses to agree on a written schedule that will serve to foster the children’s relationship with each parent. If you are facing this situation, you should craft a plan that best suits your family’s circumstances.
A well-designed parenting plan creates consistency and stability for the children. It helps to prevent conflicts before they happen, because each parent knows their rights and responsibilities. The written agreement can help avoid a court battle over requests for custody or parenting time changes. However, perhaps the most important aspect of a parenting time schedule is that it be manageable for both parents.
Getting familiar with common parenting time schedules helps in picking the right one for you and your family. These are the most popular plans:
- Weekend plan — Many parents choose to co-parent with a weekend schedule. One parent is the primary caregiver during the week, while the children visit or reside with the other parent on weekends. This is often used for parents who live a good distance from one another.
- Week on/week off —Each parent keeps the child for seven full days and the next parent takes over for the next seven days. This plan is well-suited for parents who live nearby each other. It allows parents more consecutive days with their children but may not be suitable for young children, who would have to go seven full days without seeing the other parent.
- 5/2/2/5 schedule — This plan divides parenting time equally over a two-week period, with each parent getting two five-day blocks of time and two two-day blocks. While this allows both parents to have some weekend time with the children, the frequent drop-offs and pickups can be burdensome for busy parents or for children occupied with extracurricular activities.
- 4/3/3/4 schedule — Similar to the 5/2/2/5 schedule, the 4/3/3/4 plan achieves equal parenting time over a two-week period. It gives each parent two four-day blocks and two three-day blocks, which can provide more stability for the child.
There are several objectives you should consider when picking a parenting schedule, which include:
- Minimizing disruptions to your children
- Picking a schedule you can commit to
- Creating a communication plan to facilitate scheduling changes
- Building in transportation time, including driving for extracurricular activities
You should also think about how work schedules and finances might affect your ability to sustain compliance with your plan. An experienced Arizona child custody attorney can help you build a customized parenting schedule that best meets your needs and concerns.
At Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. in Scottsdale, we help parents throughout Arizona deal with the practicalities of raising children after a divorce. Contact us online or call 602-789-3497 for a free initial consultation.