Child custody arrangements can be very complicated. The old format of getting the kids one weekend every fortnight is not very functional and does not let you be a part of every part of your child’s life.
So, many parents are looking out for options that help out dividing time in a more evenly way: where they can get weekends and holidays but also schooldays, helping with homework, going to games, recitals, etc.
Setting up calendars between people who used to live together, but now have separate lives, can be a very daunting task. And setting them in motion can be even harder (although we can now be helped by technology ).
So, let’s look at it in the most pragmatic approach. Here are 6 days to equally divide time with your custody, but be warned, some of these might look great on paper, but might not be easy to get used to.
Ways To Evenly Split Child Custody
Every Other Week
This is a very straightforward approach that allows each parent to spend equal time with their child or children, without being too much hassle, or feeling that you are apart for too much time.
Another approach that allows you to have a good amount of time with your children and that splits down the month in an even way.
Three days with one parent, four with the other , four back with the first parent and we start back at three and so on. This is a bit more complicated scheme, but one you can consider if you feel like a week or more apart from your children is too much.
Two days with each parent and then five with each one. This schedule will require discipline and effort from all the parties involved, but it will guarantee to see your children at least two times every week.
Two days with one parent, two with the other, and then 3 with each other. It’s an efficient way to get to see your child several times a week, every week.
Alternating Every Two Days
This might be complicated , but it can work well for parents who live close by and find this scheme a lot more
According to custody exchange , these arrangements have several benefits:
50/50 schedules can benefit a child because the child spends substantial time living with both parents. This allows him or her to build a close relationship with both parents, and to feel cared for by both parents
These Work Best When
- The parents live fairly close to each other, so exchanges are easier.
- The parents are able to communicate with each other about the child without fighting.
- The child is able to handle switching between parents’ homes. This can be harder for younger children.
- Both parents are committed to putting the child’s best interest first.
- The parents agree that the 50/50 schedule is the best one for their child.
Does Splitting Custody Evenly Work?
You can go to great lengths to split custody evenly. In fact, custody should be split 50/50. However, it can be impractical to do that. 50/50 should be considered after assessing social, emotional, and physical factors.
While a child stands to benefit by spending equal time with both parents, it may not be possible. A 50/50 plan works best in certain scenarios only. For instance, if your home is a few minutes away from your ex-spouse’s home, it is easy for kids to spend equal time with each parent. Your children can easily switch houses.
There’s also a need for both parents to be committed to doing what is best for the children. There must be conscious effort to allow kids to spend equal time. Most importantly, parents should agree. If one parent doesn’t think 50/50 is fair or good for the kids, such an arrangement may not work.
How To Make 50/50 Custody Work
There are countless factors that determine a parenting time schedule. You should think of holidays, school breaks, and other important timelines and split such times equally on a yearly basis.
It helps to talk to a divorce attorney to direct you to professionals who know how to split custody and give each parent equal time.
You can also turn to technology. There are apps that can craft near-perfect custody timelines based on the unique circumstances of parents.
Rules To Consider When Evenly Splitting Custody
While splitting custody equally is critical, it won’t mean much if parents don’t follow some common rules.
Don’t Use Your Time to Speak Negatively About The Other Parent
Evenly splitting custody is in the best interests of your child. The same applies to keeping your children out of your relationship drama. Badmouthing the other parent doesn’t help your child in any way. You should be extremely careful when you talk about your ex in front of your child. Regardless of how bad your divorce was, your child still loves and needs both parents to have a proper upbringing.
Focus On The Kids
While divorce can leave spouses bitter and focused on each other, custody is about children. The time you spend with your kids in custody arrangements shouldn’t be wasted on the past. Custody isn’t about getting back at your ex but giving your kids the love and attention they need to develop into responsible adults.
Craft Realistic Custody Plans
While 50/50 custody is usually the best as both parents get equal time to be with their children, it isn’t always responsible if one parent is busier than the other. Be conscious of making commitments without thinking critically. If you work all the time, your kids may spend more time on their gadgets when they are supposed to be with you. Focus on making promises you can keep. If you can’t realistically split custody halfway, make the little time you see your kids count.
Customize Split Custody To Match Your Specific Needs
The examples given above on splitting custody evenly aren’t “set on stone”. You can modify equal custody as you see fit. If it makes sense to have your kids over an entire week and then alternate the next week with your ex, so be it.
Remember to consider the age and personalities of your kids. For instance, different kids can have different custody arrangements. The family schedule and career commitments of each parent should also be considered. As mentioned above, unique events or days like holidays and academic activities should be split yearly or depending on their frequency. While there are popular custody arrangements, you don’t have to follow them if they don’t suit your family.
Parental Rights To See Children Must Be Respected
Sometimes a parent may feel their ex isn’t deserving to see their children because of many factors. For instance, if an ex was abused or neglected, they may be uncomfortable with split custody arrangements. Such cases should be determined legally. An ex can’t decide you are a bad parent because you were a bad spouse.
If issues like abuse form grounds for modifying custody. Talk to a seasoned divorce attorney.
Communication Is Key
Split custody arrangements can’t work without reliable communication. Regardless of your differences with your ex, you must be willing to communicate accordingly for the sake of your kids. Ideally, you should agree on the mode and time of communication. You should also be reliable for the sake of your kids. While being passive about communication may hurt your ex, your kids are bound to suffer if they miss important events because their parents can’t communicate effectively with each other.
It may be advisable to get all the above in writing. Failing to keep your world may be grounds for modifying custody. To avoid being disadvantage, keep your word.
Avoid Unnecessary Conflict
After divorce, there are many reasons to be angry or bitter on all matters concerning your ex. You can use visitation as grounds for starting a fight. In a nutshell, there are countless opportunities for conflict. However, you should be selective about your battles. Co-parenting can be challenging even when both parents agree on everything.
Avoiding conflict is in your best interests and those of your children. Arguing about lateness or unexpected events doesn’t help. Instead, expect hurdles and have contingency plans. Your children should also know that co-parenting is challenging, and promises can be broken.
Hear Out Your Children
While parents are battling for 50/50 custody, children may feel differently. It is advisable to talk to your kids before planning on even custody. Children should be involved, especially older kids, who may have other plans in mind. They should have a say on when they want to stay with each parent, and those wishes should be reflected in the final plan.
To have an even custody arrangement that is foolproof, consult experts. You can begin with your divorce attorney to ensure the plan doesn’t miss important components.