Successfully co-parenting a child following a separation or dissolution of marriage is fraught with challenges for parents and children. Many variables often come into play. These include emotions, communications between the parents, how they handle important health, education, and financial decisions involving their child(ren), and ensuring that time-sharing arrangements are carried out effectively.
In Florida and many other areas, time-sharing is guided by a parenting plan. A parenting plan consists of court-approved guidelines that govern the custodial agreement between parents. Included in the plan are provisions for establishing time-sharing and visitation schedules, specifying how much time and when each parent will spend time with the child(ren), including on holidays, weekends, during summer, on birthdays, and other special occasions. The plan is developed based on factors such as where both parents live, their work schedules, healthcare and educational considerations, and many other relevant factors. In all cases, Florida courts aim to be equitable for both parents, providing 50/50 time-sharing options, while ultimately always considering what is in the best interest of the child(ren). Here are six common 50/50 co-parenting schedule options that many courts and parents rely on to ensure an equitable time-sharing plan.
Weekly Alternation Schedule
The alternating weeks schedule may be the simplest and most common 50/50 time-sharing option for parents and their child(ren). The child(ren) spends one week with one parent, then the following week with the other. Pick-up and drop-off are typically scheduled on Friday afternoons, before the weekend.
B-Weekly Alternation Schedule
The two-weeks schedule is another popular arrangement. This doubles the uninterrupted time that each parent is able to spend with the child(ren). The child(ren) spends two weeks with one parent, then two weeks with the other on an alternating basis. Again, pick-ups and drop-offs are typically scheduled on Friday afternoons, before the weekend.
The 3-4-4-3 Schedule
The 3-4-4-3 schedule splits up each week. As there are 7 days in a week, the child(ren) spends, 3 days with the first parent, then 4 days with the other. The following week, the child(ren) spends 4 days with the first parent and 3 days with the other. This alternating pattern continues each week. This requires two pick-ups and drop-offs each week. This is a particularly good arrangement for parents with a younger child(ren), who may be worried that they won’t see both of their parents each week.
The 2-2-5-5 Schedule
In a 2-2-5-5 time-sharing schedule, each parent spends 2 days with their child(ren), followed by each spending 5 days with their child(ren). Like the 3-4-4-3 schedule, this is a good arrangement for younger children and/or those children who are concerned with seeing both parents each week. Ideally, the parents live close to one another, as there may be up to 3 exchanges in any given week. Parents are tasked with the challenge of remembering which days the transitions occur and it may take some extra effort to deal with homework and/or extracurricular activity schedules.
The 2-2-3 Schedule
In a 2-2-3 schedule, the child(ren) spend(s) 2 days with the first parent, then 2 days with the other parent, before returning and spending the next 3 days with the first parent. The following week, the schedule reverses. This co-parenting schedule enables both parents and their child(ren) to feel like they see one another very consistently and enables each parent to spend intermittent full weekends with their child(ren).
Alternating Every 2 Days Schedule
In an every-2-days co-parenting schedule, the child(ren) simply spends time with each parent every two days. It is a simple schedule to remember, but again, most ideal for parents who live close to one another and probably best for parents with younger children. As the child(ren) gets older, it may work better for all, for the child(ren) to spend longer periods with each parent.
Co-parenting schedules are best developed amicably between two parents and in recognition that the plan may need to evolve in the future. The goal should always be to make the transitions equitable and as smooth as possible for all involved, but ultimately to serve the best interest of the child(ren).
Protect Your Rights
If you are a parent who is getting a divorce, you will be facing a number of consequential decisions involving your future and your child(ren)’s future, including in the areas of finances, child custody, time-sharing, and visitation schedules, among others. Always make sure to have an experienced family law attorney at your side to protect you and your family. The family law attorneys at Parra Harris law provide deep expertise and experience in all areas of divorce and family law. We are bilingual, caring, and compassionate. Contact us at (904) 900-1617 or [email protected] for assistance.