Options for Scheduling Visits in a Parenting Plan

Deciding how you’ll parent your minor children after a divorce can add more stress to an already trying situation. In Arizona, the courts require divorcing spouses granted joint child custody to agree to a detailed schedule controlling how much time children spend with each parent and when. But determining the parenting time schedule that best suits you, your ex-spouse and your kids can be a challenge.

A common joint custody arrangement is a 50/50 parenting schedule that gives each parent equal time with their children, both on weekdays and on weekends. There are different ways to construct a 50/50 schedule. Here are four common types of parenting plans and the pros and cons of each:

  • Alternating weekends — With this schedule, one parent has the child one week and the other parent has the child the following week. The switch-off commonly occurs on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. This arrangement works best if the parents live close to one another and to the child’s school and activities, so that the child has consistency and stability without having to uproot every few days. A drawback is that the child goes a full week without seeing one of the parents, but the parents can agree to a mid-week visit so the child doesn’t get “homesick.”
  • Splitting the week in half — In this arrangement, one parent has the child for half of each week and the other for the second half. The parents can adjust the days they want the child during the week, which makes for greater flexibility. This schedule also permits each parent to see their child more frequently, but it involves more moving back and forth for the children.
  • The 2-2-5-5 schedule — This schedule gives each parent two days with the child, and then five days with the child, over a two-week period. Although this custody arrangement offers variety, it does require the child to switch back and forth frequently, not making it ideal for all children.
  • The 3-4-4-3 schedule — One parent has the child three days of the week, and then the other parent would have the remaining four days. The next week, the durations change so that the parent who had three days with the child now has four days. Then the other parent has the remaining three days of the week with the child. This allows the parents to have their kids on different days of the week. However, there is still a lot of back-and-forth for the kids.

The parenting schedule eventually chosen should be the product of negotiation with an overall focus on what’s best for your family. A qualified Arizona child custody attorney can provide invaluable assistance.

The attorneys of Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. are available to review your situation and advise you of the optimal custody schedule approach. Call [ln::phone] or contact us online for a free initial consultation at our Scottsdale, Arizona office.