Common Coparenting Schedules
Common Coparenting Schedules
My clients always ask me which coparenting schedules work best. The best coparenting schedule is the one that works best for the parents and children. In mediation, my clients can customize their coparenting schedules as much as they want, so long as both parents agree to the schedule. Below is a list of common schedules to be considered and customized:
1. Alternating Weeks: The child(ren) stay with one parent for one full week and the next week with the other parent. The benefit of this schedule is consistency for the children and less contact between parents who have a hard time communicating together. On the downside, for some kids a week away from one parent might cause stress and anxiety.
2. The 3-4-4-3: This schedule has a child spend time with one parent for 3 days, the other parent for 4 days, and switches the following week. The benefit of this schedule is that both parents get equal time with their children. On the downside, the inconsistency in schedule might feel uncomfortable to some kids.
3. The 2-2-5-5: This schedule has children spend 2 days with each parent, then 5 days with each parent. For example, the schedule would be Monday and Tuesday with Dad, Thursday and Friday with Mom, the next 5 days with Dad, and the next 5 days with Mom. The benefit of this schedule is that both parents get full weekends with the children while also having weekends to themselves. On the downside, for some kids 5 days might be too long to be away from one parent.
4. Base Camp Approach: In the base camp approach, the children typically sleep at one parent’s house during the week while the other parent is responsible for the kids after school and before bed. For example, the children sleep at Mom’s, Monday – Thursday but Dad takes care of the kids after school on Monday and Wednesday until it’s time to get dropped back off at Mom’s while Mom has the kids all day Tuesday and Thursday. Weekends alternate, including Friday. The benefit to this schedule is that the children have a consistent place to store all of their belongs (less lugging things around) and each parent gets fun weekend time.
Some things to consider:
1. Think of the coparenting schedule as a status quo that can be shifted upon mutual agreement between both parents. For example, if Dad usually picks the kids up from school on Tuesday but Dad has a work commitment on that Tuesday, Mom and Dad can exchange school pickup days that week if both parties agree. If Mom is not able to pick up the kids from school, then Dad is still responsible for making after school arrangements for the kids. In the event of a disagreement, the coparenting schedule prevails.
2. I encourage my clients to do their best to be flexible. It is inevitable that both parents will have to deviate from the schedule at some point or another. If a parent is willing to lend a helping hand, it’s more likely that the other parent will also lend a helping hand down the road.
3. Parenting plans do not preclude parents from seeing their children at after school activities. For example, if Dad is responsible for the children on a weekend and your son has a baseball game that weekend, Mom can still come to the game.
4. Always put your children first when making a parenting plan. The purpose of the parenting plan is to make sure that your children are taken of first and foremost. The comfort of the parents should also be considered, but secondarily to the needs of the children.