The alternating weekend visitation schedule is a time-honored tradition. Many courts still give this standard schedule to parents who are unable to agree on a more suitable visitation schedule, though shared custody is becoming more and more popular. However, courts will typically accept visitation schedules created by parents if they are in the best interests of the child. Therefore, parents with unusual work schedules or other circumstances are free to come up with unique visitation schedules that suit their family’s needs.
Visitation Schedule Options
Parents may work together to come up with creative solutions for their circumstances. For example, one parent may have a job that requires them to work unconventional hours, such as 24 or 48-hour shift work. In such cases, it may be in the best interests of the child to stay with the other parent during those days of the week. Some other creative options include:
Weekends plus midweek: Children may spend alternating weekends plus one midweek overnight with their non-custodial parent. Or, they may spend alternating weekends plus only a few hours during one weeknight with their non-custodial parent.
Weekends plus Monday: If the custodial parent travels for work or does not come home until Sunday night, this is a good option. The child can stay with the other parent through Monday and return to the custodial parent either on Monday morning, in the afternoon when the child gets home from school, or later that evening.
50 Percent Schedules
Parents often agree to a visitation schedule where they each get the children 50 percent of the time. However, there are many ways to customize a 50/50 visitation schedule. Parents must decide what works best for them and their children considering work schedules, commute times, holidays, spring and summer breaks, and other factors. Some variations on the 50/50 visitation schedule include:
Two weeks each: Alternating two weeks at a time allows the child to spend longer periods of time with each parent.
Every two days: The child stays with each parent for two days at a time. This arrangement works best when the parents live close to one another and can arrange frequent exchanges.
3-4-4-3: This schedule allows the child to spend three days with one parent, then four with the other, followed by four days with the first parent, then three with the other.
2-2-3: According to this schedule, the child would spend two days with one parent, followed by two days with the other parent, and then three days with the first parent. The next week, it alternates.