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What will joint custody look like for your family?

If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse made the decision to work together to reach a custody agreement and devise a parenting plan, you are probably looking at sharing joint legal and physical custody of your children. Each of you wants to get as much time with the children as possible, which means that you need to find a way to keep the time as equal as possible.

Determining an effective custody schedule depends on many factors. These can include your living location and the children's schedules, including extracurricular activities, plus each parent's work hours.

Typical joint custody schedules

You can devise your schedule in any way that works for your family, as long as it also meets the court's requirement that it serves the best interests of the children. One of the following common schedules may fit that bill in your case:

  • The children could spend Sundays and Mondays with you, then Tuesdays and Wednesdays with the other parent, and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with you to round out the week. The following week, the children would spend those three days with the other parent, and so on. The children will always be in one location on certain days.
  • The children could spend Sunday through Tuesday with you, Wednesday through Friday with the other parent, and you would alternate Saturdays. Again, this schedule allows the children to always be in one location on the same days. Only Saturdays change.
  • You may decide that it would be better for you to have the children Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the children one week and then only on Wednesdays and Thursdays the next. This type of alternating schedule could be a bit more stressful for the children since they aren't always with a certain parent on certain days.
  • You may use this type of alternating schedule with the addition of one overnight during the week. This gives each parent more time with the children during a short week.
  • In some families, it may be best to alternate full weeks. The children spend one week at a time with each parent. In order to keep the children from going a week without seeing one parent, you may add a visit in when the schedule allows for the other parent during your week.

Every family is different

As you can see, you have numerous options when it comes to a visitation schedule. As long as the schedule doesn't cause too much disruption in the children's lives, yet allows for your and the other parent's schedules as well, you can create a calendar that fits the needs of your family and allows each of you as much time with the children as possible.

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