What are your options for custody and parenting schedules?

When you have agreed with your former spouse to have joint physical custody over your child, it’s important to create a schedule together. As you’re creating a custody and parenting schedule in Washington, you should consider the age of your child, the work and school schedules of you and the other parent, and your child’s preferences.

Alternating weeks

The alternating weeks schedule is the most simple way of splitting time with the kids. On the downside, it may not work well for young children because it’s difficult for them to go a full week without seeing one of their parents. You should consider a different custody and parenting schedule for young children until they are old enough for alternating weeks.

2-2-3 rotation

A recommended custody and parenting schedule for young children is 2-2-3: residing with parent A for two consecutive days, with parent B for two consecutive days, with parent A for three consecutive days, with parent B for two consecutive days, etc. This pattern is simpler than you may think once you have it written on your calendar.

Once children are in the fifth grade, they may be ready for a different custody schedule. Talk to your kids about their options and listen to their thoughts, especially once they’re older.

Midweek visit

You could set up an alternating weeks schedule with a mid-week visit in which the other parent stops at your house in the evening to spend time with your kid. Pick a day of the week that works for both of you and the child. You shouldn’t make kids give up their extracurricular activities for visitations. An idea to help this work out is letting the other parent drive your child to their extracurricular activity and take them out for dinner or eat dinner with them at your house once they’re done.

If either or both of you have an unusual work schedule, it may take some creativity in finding a custody plan that works for both of you and your child. You must also take the child’s age into consideration. Young children struggle to go a full week without seeing one of their parents, so a 2-2-3 rotation might be best for them.