Shared Custody Schedules. When you’ve been married you’ve been parenting together, the idea of seeing your kids on a schedule probably seems pretty foreign.
It’s a divorce and separation reality, however.
There are a few things to keep in mind to help you be successful at shared, cooperative co-parenting:
- It will take some time for everyone to adjust, including you. Give yourself some time to get used to sharing parenting.
- Sometimes kids will say different things to each parent. Sometimes they’ll do it to test you, and your reaction.
- Some of the separation anxiety kids experience is normal and it would happen even if you weren’t divorced. Try and keep some perspective, and don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about what they’re going through.
Shared custody schedules are as unique as each family. You’ll read about guidelines in books and on web sites, but your parenting plan needs to fit your family, no someone else’s. So don’t be afraid to deviate from what the experts say if you know it will work. And, if it doesn’t work, you can always adjust the schedule.
Here are some popular shared custody schedules:
Split Week Plan for parents sharing children on weekdays and weekend. You’ll also hear this called the 2-2-5 plan because kids are with one parent 2 days, the other parent 2 days, and then 5 days with the 1st parent…then vice versa.
What we like about this schedule:
- Good for children under age 5 who have good attachment to both parents.
- Works for even-keeled children between ages of 5 to 12.
- This is a regularly recurring and consistent plan. Nobody goes too long without seeing either kids or parents.
What we don’t like about this schedule:
- For kids under age 5, this plan may require the child to be away from one parent for too long. If you like this schedule, you could break up the 5 day stretch with some time with the other parent.
- If the situation is high conflict, there are a lot of transitions between households. High conflict transitions are particularly stressful for immature and special needs kids.
Alternating Week Plan . You’ll also hear this called “week on, week off”
What we like about this plan:
- Works for children over age 7, since they understand the concept of a “week.”
- Older kids like teens and pre-teens tend to like this plan because it requires fewer transitions.
What we don’t like about this plan:
- 7 days is a long time not to see your kids, or for your kids to see you. Consider breaking up the 7 day stretch with some time with the other parent.
- If the situation is higher-conflict, you might try and schedule that “in between time” at school or an activity where both parents won’t be face to face.
So these are some guidelines, but we encourage you to think about your own child’s needs, temperment, and your schedule.