Parenting time schedules vary based on the needs of a child, their parents’ work schedules, the distance between households and many other factors. These schedules aim to provide consistency, stability and meaningful time for both parents to be involved in the child’s life.
Typically, physical custody is also referred to as parenting time in Pennsylvania, and it establishes where the child lives at any given point. There is also legal custody, or decision-making ability. They do not always have to be divided in the same way; no matter where the child lives, for instance, both parents may have to work together to make decisions.
Crafting a sound parenting time arrangement
When considering a general living schedule, though, you’re looking at the first type of custody: Parenting time. Here are several common examples of custody schedules:
- Alternating weeks: The child resides with one parent for a full week and then switches to the other parent’s home for the following week. Parents may do the exchange whenever is convenient, such as alternating who picks the children up from school on Friday afternoon.
- 2-2-3 schedule: With this setup, a child spends two days with Parent A, the next two days with Parent B, and then three days back with Parent A before rotating again. This basically gives each parent the same amount of time, but using short blocks of days – rather than a whole week – can be easier for some parents who don’t want to go without seeing their children for an entire week.
- 3-4-4-3 schedule: The frequent exchange schedule here has the child spend three days with Parent A, the next four days with Parent B. They then have four days with Parent A and, finally, three last days with Parent B. That cycle starts over every two weeks.
- Every other day or alternating days: This schedule involves frequent switches, where the child alternates between parents’ homes every other day or every few days. This can be useful if parents live very close together and want to share responsibilities, but is harder when significant transportation is involved.
- Holiday and special occasion schedules: Finally, parents can create a separate schedule for holidays, special occasions and vacations to ensure that the child spends meaningful time with both parents during these times. For instance, many parents alternate yearly for Christmas.
It’s essential to tailor the custody schedule to your child’s individual needs. This is a complicated and important process, so parents must be well aware of their legal options and their parental rights while working out the details. Seeking personalized legal guidance is a good way to get started.