Most parents going through a divorce think they should have equal time with their children. Having a close relationship with both parents is still very important, even in the aftermath of a divorce.
When thinking about visitation schedules, the important thing to keep in mind is that the court makes decisions on the basis of what is in the best interest of the child. This may or may not be the most convenient or desirable schedule for each parent.
So, is a 50/50 visitation schedule appropriate in your situation? If so, what would it look like?
With any visitation schedule, the most important factor is that the social, emotional, and physical needs of the child are met. With that in mind, many parents request a 50/50 custody arrangement so that the child maintains a significant social and emotional connection with both parents. The parents can benefit by being there for significant milestones.
There are challenges to a 50/50 visitation schedule and it’s not for everyone. Some key questions to answer before you request a 50/50 schedule from the court include:
Even with a 50/50 arrangement, there are still other special times that will need to be accounted for in the visitation schedule. As with most custody arrangements, you will probably also need a summer vacation schedule as well as a holiday schedule for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
In addition, parents may also want to consider a 3rd party time schedule. If your child is spending a considerable amount of time at school or in day care, your 50/50 schedule needs to be adjusted accordingly so that each parent still receives a relatively equal amount of time.
The bottom line with a 50/50 arrangement is that you need to be sure that’s the one you both want before you make the request, and be flexible enough to realize that there are lots of things going on in the child’s life that can make a simple 50/50 split hard to master. It may be that you have to sacrifice some time on one end and make it up during summer break or a holiday.
There are many ways to arrange a 50/50 schedule. Perhaps the simplest is an alternating weeks schedule where a child spends one week with one parent and then spends the next week with the other. This can also be expanded to an alternating 2 week schedule, if that makes things easier.
More complicated schedules include a 3-4-4-3 (3 days with one, 4 days with the other, 4 days with the first, 3 days with the second) or a 2-2-5-5 (same arrangement, different numbers). There are even schedules where the child alternates parents every two days.
Before you settle on a visitation schedule, it’s vital to have a consultation with your family law attorney. They can help you navigate all the various schedules and help you decide what is in the best interest of your family.
If you are in Henry, Clayton, or Fayette Counties, or in the Atlanta metro area, Family Matters Law Group is an experienced family law firm that can help with your visitation scheduling. Contact us today using our convenient online contact form. We’re ready to hear your story!