Joint Custody: Creating a 50/50 Custody Schedule with Alternating Weekends

It is becoming increasingly common for parents in California to share physical custody of their children, and for families to try to develop a custody schedule that allows the child to spend an equal amount of time with each parent. A 50/50 custody schedule can work in a variety of ways. When you create a schedule that gives each parent a full weekend with the child, that can allow for family trips and projects that are simply not possible when every weekend is split up. An experienced custody attorney can be tremendously helpful in negotiating and developing plans for a 50/50 custody schedule with alternating weekends. Having seen what has worked—and what hasn’t—for others in the past can enable a legal advisor to ensure that families do not overlook the important details that can have an impact on the success of the arrangement. Working with an attorney also provides an outside perspective and a sense of authority. It may be easier to accept a compromise proposed by a knowledgeable legal advisor rather than one proposed by the other spouse.

Sample 50/50 Custody Schedules That Give Parents Alternating Weekends

Parents often get very creative when it comes to shared custody schedules, but sometimes they don’t know where to start in the planning process. It is frequently easier to look at a sample schedule and figure out how to adjust it to fit work schedules and child care arrangements than to try to start from scratch. With that in mind, here are some sample 50/50 custody schedules with alternating weekends:
  • 7-7: The simplest plan involves having the child spend a full week with Parent A followed by a full week with Parent B. However, this can be difficult for younger children who need to see both parents frequently.
  • 5-2-5-2: The child spends the first workweek, Monday through Friday, with Parent A and Saturday and Sundays with Parent B. Then the second workweek would be with Parent B and Parent A would have the second Saturday and Sunday. This is repeated until a vacation or other alteration.
  • 4-3-4-3: The above example could be used with a weekend starting on Friday or ending on Monday.
  • 3-2-2: In the first week, the child spends Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with Parent A and Thursday and Friday with Parent B. The child spends the first weekend with Parent A. In the second week, the child spends Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with Parent B and Thursday and Friday with Parent A. The child spends the second weekend with Parent B.
  • 2-3-2: The above example could be adjusted to any type of 2/3 or 3/2 split of the weekdays.
  • 2-2-5-5: The child spends every Monday and Tuesday with Parent A, every Wednesday and Thursday with Parent B, and alternates Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This provides more predictability during most of the workweek.
  • 2-2-3: In the first week, the child spends Monday and Tuesday with Parent A, Wednesday and Thursday with Parent B, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Parent A. The second week, the days are reversed.

Factor in Holidays and Special Days

Adhering to a schedule for 50/50 shared custody can be a challenge for busy parents and easily throw children into physical, mental, and emotional turmoil. These problems can be compounded by holidays and special days such as birthdays. It is important to consider these unique days ahead of time and develop a plan so that everyone knows what to expect. Holiday schedules involve not only the major family holidays like Thanksgiving but also days that a child may be off school such as Martin Luther King Day. Extended school holidays such as winter break and summer vacation also require special planning.

Communication is Key

In every parenting situation, but particularly one involving shared physical custody, both parents need to be willing to communicate regularly and cordially. They also need to be flexible, because changes in their schedule, the child’s schedule, or emergency situations can require the schedule to change frequently. An attorney can help establish ground rules for communication to help parents who are struggling to stay on the same page. For instance, an attorney could negotiate an arrangement that requires parents to exchange text messages an hour before each scheduled transition, and a phone conversation once a week.

Get Help With your Joint Custody Schedule from Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC

Joint custody schedules can give each parent the maximum amount of time with their child and preserve a child’s relationship with both parents. But to make the arrangements work, parents need to be committed to success. The team of family law attorneys at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC has 300+ years of collective experience helping families develop the best plans for joint custody and other key arrangements. Contact us today to put our experience to work for you.