[this article has been updated since it’s original publish date to reflect changes in 2023]
Every parent wants an outcome that favors their child, but regrettably, once divorce proceedings enter the frame, many parents wind up dealing with grueling custody issues. Ideally, negotiating and coming to an agreement that outlines custody and visitation rights would work out best.
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Bearing the well-being of the children in mind, finding a solution that accommodates a meaningful connection between the parties and child(ren) is key. Such a plan averts contentious and bruising court battles that adversely impact all parties’ involved.
But then, things aren’t always that simple. In cases where couples fail to agree on custody and visitation matters, the court can intervene and mandate a custody compromise that may be somewhat less than desirable.
What next after divorce? Basically, there are several common custody plans. Let’s discuss:
The 2-2-3 arrangement allows parents to take equal shifts caring for the children. Here, the child will be with one parent for two consecutive days, then the other for the next two days. From there on, the child is under the custody of the first parent for the next three days. Such a schedule allows the child to see each parent regularly.
- Helps achieve equality in terms of the time parents spend with their children
- It offers ease of planning thanks to its consistency
- It is advantageous for parents who live close to each other since the movement of the child(ren) ought to be easier.
- Children will access both parents equally
- The longest a child can stay without seeing the other parent is three days
- The arrangements create a fixed schedule that may affect other personal plans
- It can create movement inconvenience when the parents live in distant locations
- Routine movement can affect children, particularly those in school
Children visit one parent on Monday and Tuesday, the other Wednesday and Thursday, from there, they alternate the weekend.
- The children will have equal time with both parents, despite the distribution of days being different.
- Parents are able to plan for weekends where the children can have fun and play
- It is preferable for parents who live in distant locations
- Unlike the 2-2-3 plan, in the 2-2-5, the child(ren) can stay up to 5 days without seeing one parent.
- The gap in days can affect the schedule of the children, such as those having piano classes
- The plan is not favorable for young children
Week on Week Off
For co-parents having 50/50 physical custody, interchanging weeks is a simple parenting schedule. This plan streamlines the scheduling of changeovers greatly.
- Gives the parent a 50/50 chance to be with the children
- It is easy to plan for since it is regular and simplifies the scheduling
- The child may take longer, compared to other plans, before seeing one parent
When a Parent Does Not Have Joint Physical – Frequent and Continuous Contact
To put it simply, not having custody over your child doesn’t mean you’ve lost your parental rights. A parent who doesn’t have physical custody will, all the same, have the right to a suitable amount of parenting time. The custodial parent must not interfere with your parenting time—with zero regard to whether you’ve skipped to pay child support.
In the Child’s Interest—Which is the Best Plan?
A good question for each parent since the plans aim to help both parents have access to their children, though routinely. Before settling on any option, it is best to consider the legal aspects, age of the children, and other factors that may affect the actualization of the chosen plan.
– Other Options To Consider –
7-7 (Week On, Week Off)
This is a straightforward plan typically implemented where older children are involved. This usually involves making exchanges at the end of each week, with each co-parent having an alternate week of custody.
5-2-2-5 Parenting Plan
This is designed to accommodate younger children who would not like to spend too many consecutive days away from either co-parent. This typically involves one co-parent having the same two days a week and alternating weekends.
An example might see Mother having Mondays and Tuesdays, Father having Wednesday and Thursdays, then alternating every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
3-4-4-3 Parenting Plan
This type of plan is also geared to cater to younger children. Here, the parents will again have the same overnights throughout the week but alternate once over the weekend, either on Saturdays or Sundays.
2-2-3 Parenting Plan
This is typically called the ‘Every other Weekend’ parenting plan. Here, each co-parent will have two days of the week with the children, with the parent who had the first two days having them for the weekend, after which the other co-parent will have them. This will mean that the children will spend alternating weekends with either co-parent.
Long-Distance Parenting Plans
Should co-parents live a long way from one another, the children’s school schedules must be considered. Most schedules under these circumstances will see one co-parent having them for the school terms while the other has them for holidays, summers, and other school breaks.
Plans Where One Parent has Very Few or No Overnights
Should the courts determine that one co-parent will exclude overnights, they will still establish visitation hours. After the court determines how many hours of the week will be spent with either co-parent, they can then work out the best days for this, which typically fall on weekends.