How to Create a Parenting Schedule in California
Parenting schedules are required in most custody situations that go through the court system in California. Creating these schedules, however, can be a time-consuming process. You want a schedule that works for you and the other parent but especially for the child. You also want a schedule that proactively addresses any concerns you may have and accommodates the right amount of flexibility needed when co-parenting.
At MKH Accident Attorneys, APC, our family law lawyer in Southern California (Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, & San Diego County) will help you create a parenting schedule that reflects your needs and specific situation. We also identify and address today concerns or issues that may arise tomorrow. Contact us at (949) 299-7632 today to schedule a confidential Free Consultation and learn more about child custody and parenting schedules.
What Are the Most Common Types of Parenting Schedules in California?
It is ideal for every child to have two parents who care for them and are involved in their life. When the parents aren't together, but both desire to have a relationship with their child, a number of different parenting schedules across the 50 states exist and can be utilized. Some of the most common are described below, but keep in mind not all plans are allowed in all jurisdictions. The latter, in part, is why – at a minimum – you should have a competent child custody lawyer in California review your parenting schedule and advise accordingly.
50/50 Parenting Schedule
A 50/50 parenting schedule is a way for both parents to spend an equal amount of time with the child. There are typically several plans that allow this equal split.
- Alternating Weeks. Alternating weeks between parental homes; seven days with one parent, seven days with the other
- Alternating Two Weeks. Alternating every two weeks between parental homes; 14 days with one parent, 14 days with the other
- 2-2-5-5. The 2-2-5-5 schedule abi-weekly joint custody schedule, and it takes 14 days to complete the cycle. With this schedule, children stay with the first parent for two days, then live with the second parent for the next two days, and then live with the first parent for five days and then with the second parent for 5 days. Depending on how you customize your schedule and what day your schedule starts, you may end up with a 5-5-2-2 schedule, a 2-5-5-2 schedule, a 5-2-2-5 schedule, a 2-5-2-5 schedule or a 5-2-5-2 schedule. These are all variations on the same two-week repeating schedule. Most commonly this schedule is customized to be Monday to Wednesday with Parent A, Wednesday to Friday with Parent B and the parents alternate the weekends (Parent A has 5 days on their alternating weekends when Parent A has Friday-Wednesday; Parent B has 5 days on their alternating weekends when Parent B has Wednesday-Monday),
- 3-4-4-3. Three days with parent A, then four days with parent B, followed by four days with parent A, then three days with parent B
For these plans, you want to be sure it is convenient and consistent with the child's needs, especially if they are in school. Too much back and forth can be stressful and interfere with educational or extracurricular activities.
60/40 Parenting Schedule
A 60/40 parenting plan is used when one parent has the child 60% of the time while the other has the child 40% of the time.
Typically, the child spends the first 4 days of the week with parent A, and the last 3 days of the week with parent B. This is an easy schedule to remember as each parent knows the days of the week they will have the child far in advance. (For example, they know that they will always have the child on Tuesdays.)
60/40 plans are beneficial when each parent wants to spend a significant amount of time with the child but they do not communicate well with the other parent. It is also convenient when the parents live close to one another.
70/30 Parenting Schedule
A 70/30 parenting plan allows one parent to have the child 70% of the time while the other has the child 30% of the time. There are several different ways this can be accomplished, including the following:
- The child spends the week (Monday - Friday) with parent A, and the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) with parent B.
- The child spends two consecutive weeks (14 days) with parent A and one week (7 days) with parent B.
The 70/30 parenting schedule works well when the parents do not live near one another, or when one parent is required to travel extensively for their job.
80/20 Parenting Schedule
An 80/20 parenting schedule is when one parent has the child 80% of the time while the other parent has the child 20% of the time. Common 80/20 parenting schedules include:
- The child living with parent A but spending every other weekend with parent B
- The child living with parent A, and spending every 2nd, 4th, and 5th weekend with parent B.
The 80/20 parenting schedule is a good plan when the child does not do well with having two different home bases, and when one parent is the primary caretaker while the other parent has a less active parenting role.
90/10 Parenting Schedule
A 90/10 schedule is when the child does not spend any overnight with one parent. Instead, they just visit them during the day. This is a good plan when only one parent is the physical caretaker of the child.
How Are Holidays and Summers in a Parenting Schedule Split?
There are numerous ways summers and holidays can be shared between parents to make sure each spends adequate and quality time with their children.
Summer Parenting Plan Schedules
For some parents, especially those with a 50/50 or 60/40 parenting schedule, they can keep the schedule the same during the summer with the exception of adding in dates or allocating certain weeks to each parent for vacation and other activities.
For others, especially those that live far away from one another, the child will spend the school year with one parent, and the summer with the other. It really depends on the circumstances of each situation, and the parents' ability to get along with one another and agree on a schedule that works for both of them.
Holiday Parenting Plan Schedules
Holidays are generally treated differently than other days when a parenting schedule is created. Many parents choose to alternate holidays. For example, the child may spend Thanksgiving and Easter with parent A on even-numbered years, and Christmas and July 4th with parent B on even-numbered years. Then, on odd-numbered years, the holidays switch.
Other plans include:
- Choosing Holidays. Parent A may feel that Thanksgiving is more important, while parent B may feel that Christmas is more important. When this is the case, the plan can be that the child spends every Thanksgiving with parent A, and every Christmas with parent B.
- Splitting the Holiday Days. When the parents live close to one another, they may split all holidays in half, so that the child spends the morning with one parent and afternoon with the other.
Holiday and summer schedules can vary as much or as little as the parents would like. It honestly depends on preference and distance.
Special Circumstances and California Parenting Schedules
Special circumstances often call for teamwork and creative planning on the part of both parents. For example, when the parents live far away from one another but both want to be involved with their child, a more traditional 50/50 parenting plan will not work. Instead, they may be able to agree to something different, such as one of the following plans:
- The child can spend all long weekends from school and the majority of summer break with one parent, and the rest of their time with the other parent.
- For children that are not yet in school or attend school online, a long visit with one parent every couple of months may work.
The age of the child and their ability to travel long distances also has an effect on long-distance parenting schedules.
Parenting plans when one parent is in the military also require thinking outside the box. Special issues such as deployment and frequent moves must be addressed.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Southern California (Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, & San Diego County) Today
If you seek custody of your child and need help in and outside the courtroom, our child custody lawyer in California will walk you through the process, providing solid advice and representation throughout it. Contact MKH Accident Attorneys, APC today at (949) 299-7632 or complete our online form to schedule a confidential Free Consultation.