If you and your ex are currently trying to come up with a joint custody schedule you can both agree to, it's important that you know all options available to you so you can make the most informed decision. To help you with your decision, below are outlined three of the most common joint custody arrangements and the pros and cons associated with each.
The Split Week Arrangement
Pros: There are a number of options available if you and your ex choose the split week arrangement. Common split week schedules include 3/4/4/3, 2/2/5/5, and 2/2/3. For example, if the set schedule was 3/4/4/3, Parent A would get 3 days with their child, then Parent B would get 4 days, then the child would go back to Parent A for 4 days, and then Parent B would receive 3 days. This allows for equal time throughout the school week and weekends.
Cons: This arrangement can be difficult for small children, or for children who struggle with transitions. This arrangement is usually reserved for school-aged children whose parents live relatively close to each other, as there is a lot of travel involved during drop-off and pick-up. It can also make the child feel as if they don't have a true home base.
The Every Other Week Arrangement
Pros: There is a lot less travel involved in this option, and it also allows for the child to settle into a routine more easily. This option can be educationally beneficial, as it's easier to stay on top of homework and other school projects than it would be with a split-week arrangement.
Cons: This custody arrangement means your child could go without seeing one parent or the other for 7 day stretches. This can be remedied, however, with mid-week dinners. This option can also make it difficult for a child to participate in sports or other extracurricular activity, unless both parents are willing to facilitate practices and games.
The Every Other Month Arrangement
Pros: This arrangement may seem a bit extreme, but it can be fantastic when dealing with a high-conflict ex or if your child struggles with transitions. This option allows your child to settle into a routine and really get the chance to spend time bonding with each parent. Since traveling is less frequent, there will be less of a feeling of time lost.
Cons: For obvious reasons, this custody arrangement can be difficult on the parents and child. If this custody arrangement is agreed upon, it's extremely important that the child has a chance to see their other parent at least once per week.
The three custody arrangements above are just an example of the options available to you and your ex. To learn more about joint custody schedules, click here for more info or consult with your family law attorney.