What is an Alternating Week Parenting Schedule?
One of the major decisions to make during a divorce is how the parenting schedule will work. Many families have a shared parenting schedule, where their children spend significant time with each parent. For many, the “normal” schedule is established, and then the plan is further refined to address special occasions like holidays and vacations. One custody and parenting plan that works for some families is the “alternating week” schedule.
Read on to learn more.
Background on Joint Custody
Joint Custody is what it’s called when a court orders custody of a minor child to both parents. There are two types of joint custody: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. It’s confusing, but it’s important to note that “joint physical custody” does not necessarily mean exactly 50%/50% parenting time.
In some cases, joint custody refers to arrangements whereby the child lives with one parent on a primary basis, subject to flexible and liberal visitation with the other parent. In other cases, parents using a truly shared parenting model — like 3-4-4-3, 5-2-25, or week on week off — where each parent has substantially equal time with the child each week, or each month. The appropriateness of a particular schedule varies as parenting plans are often influenced by the child’s age, school and work schedules, and the distance between the two parents’ homes.
Alternating Week Joint Physical Custody Schedule
“Alternative Week” refers to the time the child spends with each parent. With this plan, the children live at one parent’s house one week, then switch over to the other parent’s house the next week. Many families choose to make the transition on Fridays or over the weekend, but you can choose whatever day of the week works best for your family.
Alternating Week Parenting Calendar
Pros and Cons of the Alternative Week Schedule
Like with every parenting schedule, there are pros and cons with an alternating week schedule.
First let’s get the cons out of the way:
- Children go a full week without seeing the other parent.
- There isn’t weekday consistency (“it’s Monday and every Monday I am with mom”) for kids. Parents cannot schedule particular lessons or events for consistent days.
Onto the pros:
- Kids get a full week with each parent.
- There are fewer transitions/
- Children get some weekday time and some weekend time with both parents.