Divorce is tough on everyone involved, but if there are kids in the picture, it makes it all the more complicated.

Of all the sticking points in a divorce settlement, the parties’ custody arrangement for their kids can be the most contentious. Luckily, courts recognize how complicated it can be for parents leading two different and separate lives to also co-parent. There are many established options for how to divide custody time between parents.

An Agreement Without Litigation is Usually Best

Often, when a couple decides to divorce, it’s difficult for soon to be ex-spouses to agree wholeheartedly on how to split their time with their children. But if they can agree to a schedule without getting the courts involved, this is often best.

Even with an agreement, there’s always the option of seeking court intervention if one person fails to live up to their side of the agreement.

Different Kinds of Joint Custody Arrangements

The following are some custody arrangements that are commonly accepted by the courts:

  • One option is the “2-2-3” arrangement, where one parent gets two days on (for example, starting on Monday), two days off, then three days at the end of the week. Then the other parent gets the same arrangement beginning again on Monday.
  • Similar to the “2-2-3” schedule is the “3-4-4-3” option in which the first parent takes the child for three days of the week, then four days for the second parent. Then, the week after that, it alternates with the first parent getting four days on, then three days off. Comparable to this is the 2-2-5-5 schedule, which alternates in the same way.
  • Sometimes the court opts for simpler alternating schedules, like two days on, two days off. Other examples include alternating weekly or two weeks at a time.

All of these arrangements are for 50/50 custody arrangements. For arrangements including 60/40, 70/30 or 80/20 there are even more combinations.

When Parents Live Far Apart From Each Other

When parents live far apart from each other, it is often impossible to have a 50/50 custody arrangement because of the very nature of distance. Some of the more common schedules we’ve seen include, but are not limited to:

  • One parent gets most (if not all) holidays, and the other parent gets the rest of the days; or
  • One parent gets all school vacations (spring, summer, and winter), and the other parent gets the rest of the days, with holidays alternating year to year.


Not Commonly Known Considerations About Visitation

Contrary to popular opinion, courts do not favor moms over dads when it comes to custody and visitation. Unless there is a significant reason to order otherwise (e.g., a breastfeeding baby, domestic violence, an unsuitable home environment, etc.), courts will start with the default position that both parents are entitled to equal time with their children.

One thing about visitation that most people don’t know is that the amount of child support a parent is required to pay goes down as their visitation time goes up. This is partly because the court presumes the parent is taking care of the child’s essential needs and other expenses while the child is in that parent’s care.

Some parents who are paying child support see this as a loophole and will seek increased visitation time to decrease their payments. If the parent who receives child support senses the other parent is only seeking to decrease their payments, they can make a formal argument to the court.

Want to Know More About Custody and Visitation?

There are a host of other things to consider when it comes to child custody and visitation, including, but not limited to, distinctions between joint and sole legal custody, primary physical custody, and specific visitation rights. If you’d like to know more, contact Park Family Law. Whether you need an experienced mediator to amicably and efficiently settle your case or an aggressive litigator to get you the best result in court, Park Family Law can assist you every step of the way.