What is the Ideal Child Custody Arrangement?
Whether you’re a parent who is just beginning to think about divorce or an experienced co-parent, you likely know how important it is to find an ideal child custody arrangement. Ideally, custody will give you and your ex-spouse an opportunity to share the responsibilities of raising your children together, with a schedule that meets their unique needs while disrupting their lives as little as possible.
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Custody is divided into three main categories: physical custody, legal custody, and visitation. Each category has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to take your time in making a decision about what works best for your family.
Joint Physical Custody: In this arrangement, the children spend approximately the same amount of time each year residing primarily with one parent. Typically, the parents retain joint legal custody as well, so they have authority over decisions regarding school, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.
Alternating Weeks: This custody plan allows each parent to have their children for a few days at a time, then switch custody over to the other parent for several days, giving them ample time to get used to the new arrangement before switching back again. This is a popular choice for families with older children who are able to handle the length of time that they’ll spend without seeing their parents.
A 50/50 Schedule: This is the simplest joint custody plan. This schedule involves one parent having custody on Monday and Tuesday, then the other parent has it on Wednesday and Thursday. Then the parents switch custody again on Friday through Sunday.
2-2-3: This is the most common of the alternating schedules. During this time, the kids stay with their mother on Monday and Tuesday and with their father on Wednesday and Thursday. Then they move to the other parent’s home on Friday through Sunday.
Extended Weekend: This is similar to the 2-2-3 plan, but has the kids living at one parent’s house on Monday through Thursday and then the other parent’s home on Friday through Saturday. In this case, the kids can have their favorite toys and clothes at both houses.
80/20: This is another commonly shared custody plan that involves the children spending the majority of their time with one parent. It can be a first-third-fifth weekend schedule (the child lives with the first parent and visits the second parent on the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month) or an every-third-weekend schedule (the child lives with the second parent and visits the first parent on the second, fourth, and fifth weekends of the month).
This type of custody plan is geared toward fostering strong relationships between each of the parents and their children. In fact, it is often considered the bare minimum in terms of allowing each parent to have their child’s full attention while also keeping the parenting exchanges to a minimum.
Rules for Creating the Perfect Child Custody Arrangement:
A good child custody plan should allow both parents to have a meaningful relationship with their child and make it easy for them to maintain those relationships. It should also allow them to avoid making any rash decisions that could negatively affect their children. In addition, it should provide an opportunity for the children to grow and learn about their life as a whole.