Creating A Visitation Schedule
In a divorce when children are involved, the judge will decide on child custody. Parents will be asked to create a visitation schedule, or parenting time schedule, in which they will agree on when they will spend time with each parent. While a judge can create a schedule, it’s usually better when both parents can work together to create a schedule that will work best for them based on their child’s needs.
Parents will typically have a regular schedule based on 50/50 joint custody. However, there are also 60/40, 70/30, and 80/20 schedules. An 80/20 schedule is more a sole custody situation.
While a consistent visitation schedule will work for most of the year, there may need to be some modifications during the summer, when kids tend to be out of school. The best way to handle this is to determine start and end dates and come up with a repeating pattern.
There are also vacations and special occasions to keep in mind. These may include vacations from school and vacations in which a parent takes the kids out of town. There may also be holiday schedules to consider. In those cases, holidays would take priority over the regular schedule.
Other considerations include the location of the parents, whether or not a parent is in the military, the child’s schedule, and the child’s physical and social needs. Just make sure the schedule meets your state’s guidelines.
Visitation Schedules by Age
Age should be the top consideration when determining the right visitation schedule. For infants under 18 months old, comfort is the main priority. They should primarily spend time with the primary caregiver, with the other parent getting small intervals of time with the child (perhaps a couple two- or three-hour visits per week). When the baby gets older and can eat solid foods, there can be longer visitations.
Older children up to 3 years old like predictable schedules. They want frequent time with each parent. For children this age, the 2-2-3 visitation schedule is best. This means two days with one parent, two days with the other, and three days with the first parent.
Children ages 4-12 have school work and extracurricular activities that can make it difficult to switch parents during the week. Therefore, a child may spend one week with one parent and the second week with the other parent.
Teens are more independent and don’t need to spend as much time with parents. Switching between parents every two weeks may be ideal.
Seek Legal Help
It’s ideal when children get to spend equal time with both parents. However, the schedule should fit the needs of your children based on their age, school schedule, and other factors.
Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you and the other parent create a timesharing schedule that you can both agree on. To schedule a consultation, call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form.