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What Options Should We Consider for Alternating Visitation in a Parenting Plan?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2021 | Child Custody and Visitation

We are often asked “What options should we consider for alternating visitation in a parenting plan?”  What is the best way to share the custody and parenting of our children?

The simple answer to that question is the central focus of California Family Law: What is in the best interests of the child?

Developing a schedule for alternating time with each parent during and after a divorce can be challenging.  The best place to start is to chart the existing rhythms of each child’s schedule.  COVID-19 and “remote learning” have placed an incredible burden on parents and children alike.  The pandemic alters the answers to these questions in a profound way.  Most experts predict a return to more normal life patterns as we move through 2021 so you must consider this as you evaluate potential schedules.

One of the central questions of developing a schedule for alternating visitation in a parenting plan is how will your child(ren) handle exchanges?

Will it be better for your family to go with multiple exchanges between households each week or is a more stable pattern better for the child?  The classic schedule alternated weeks between each parent.  The child would spend one week with parent “A” and the next with parent “B.”  A week is a long time to go without quality time in many cases so usually the non-custodial parent in this model would pick up the child after school on Tuesday or Wednesday and take them back before bedtime.

A “3-4-4-3” schedule shares parenting time equally and means your child would stay with parent “A” for 3 days (Mon – Wed) and then with parent “B” for 4 days (Thu – Sun). The following week parent “B” takes 4 days (Mon – Thu) and parent “A” completes the cycle with 3 (Fri – Sun).  In this pattern, the child spends 7 consecutive days with each parent but the week is broken up to ensure equal time during equal points of the week.

Another potential schedule for alternating visitation in a parenting plan is known as a “2-2-3.”  In this plan parent “A” has Monday and Tuesday, parent “B” has Wednesday and Thursday and weekends (Friday through Sunday) are alternated between households.

Developing a schedule for alternating visitation in a parenting plan can be a bit complicated but it can also be a very positive and creative experience.  Consider the normal rhythms of each child’s life and discuss whether each child would do better with a more stable schedule or if moving between households more frequently works better.

Exchanges (moving from the household of parent “A” to parent “B”) can be emotional and difficult for many children.  Consider how to make exchanges easier.  For example, can the exchanges be designed so the child simply takes the bus home from school to the appropriate household?

If you and your former spouse are having a challenge reaching agreement on a parenting plan mediation can be a private, cost-effective and timely alternative to reach agreement.

Learn more and speak with the experienced and proven Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq. Protect your own interests and contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.