After a separation or divorce, California couples who have young children will need to figure out a parenting schedule that fits the needs of their family. There are different schedules that are commonly used; however, each family must tailor their parenting plan to their unique circumstances.
What to consider
When figuring out how to create a parenting plan, factors related to the parents and the children must be addressed. If the children are old enough, parents might even consider involving them in the process. Factors that might affect the creation of a parenting schedule include:
- The parents’ work schedules
- The children’s ages
- The children’s specific care and medical needs
- The children’s school and extracurricular schedules
- The location of each parent’s home, childcare providers and the children’s schools and other activities
Older children can usually adapt faster to new routines and are often more independent, so parenting schedules that include frequent changes might work for them. Younger children, however, are usually more dependent on routines and might struggle with frequent changes. Infants and very young children might have bonded with their primary caretaker and might need a schedule that responds to these needs, even if the parents have shared custody.
Sample parenting schedules
For shared child custody, a popular parenting schedule plan is alternating weeks between the parents. However, this plan can be further adapted to include a visitation or overnight visit with the other parent during the week.
Another parenting schedule option includes splitting the week by having the children stay 2 days with one parent, 2 days with the other parent, then 3 days with the first parent. The next week, the days with each parent would flip. Parents can also choose to split the days by having the children stay 3 days with one parent, 3 days with the other parent, then 4 days with each parent.