This is a straightforward look at some of the basic child custody schedules that are put in place via a parenting agreement or family court child custody order.  These represent a few of the foundation schedules upon which the rest of an agreement or order is built.

Starting with shared parenting, 50/50 custody, or equal parenting – this represent an equal division of parenting time (or can be something very close to equal parenting time).

“Week-On/Week Off” or 7/7

A common, basic shared-parenting plan. When any 50/50 custody arrangement is put into place, it generally requires both parents to live reasonably close to one another. Reasonable may be in the same neighborhood.  Reasonable also may be 30-minutes away.  It really all depends on meeting any appropriate logistical needs including getting the children to activities such as school, religious institutions, and extracurricular activities.

The 5/2/2/5 Arrangement

Another shared parenting (or equal parenting) option that is becoming more commonplace – the 5/2 / 2/5 shared-parenting arrangement.  This child custody schedule also provides stability and predictability for both the children and the parents.   It ensures no more than 5-days will ever go by without one parent or the other family time with the children and vice versa. For example, one parent shall take each Monday and Tuesday before transitioning to the other parent on Wednesday and Thursday.  Then it’s 5-and-5 time the children spend with each parent, followed by the next period of 2-and-2.   Weekend time remains alternating under such an arrangement when done correctly.

Less desirable arrangements for parents who are ready, willing, fit, loving, and able include unbalanced schedules, those that drive many to ongoing litigation to move towards shard parenting child custody orders:

The “Classic” Primary/Secondary Arrangement

If circumstances or logistical problems don’t allow for a 50/50 child custody arrangement and you may be facing a situation where you have a parenting agreement or child custody order whereby one parent has every-other-weekend with the children and a weekday “dinner visit” with the child during the school year. For the summer periods, there are endless ways the non-custodial parent can arrange for extra time.

Sole Physical and Legal Custody to One Parent

Generally, when one parent has or is awarded sole physical and legal custody of the children it is for one of three common reasons:

  1. A biological parent is unknown or cannot be located.
  2. One parent has been deemed unfit or otherwise unable to be part of the children’s lives through some decidedly negative circumstances.
  3. A biological parent has simply relinquished their parental rights to the child(ren).

Bear in mind – these are not the only arrangements that can be made.  You can work to get a more balanced child custody arrangement, equal child custody, or a primary-secondary parenting agreement that allocates more than the minimum amount of time with one of the parents.