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Should you consider an alternate-week custody schedule?

If you and your soon-to-be-ex are going to be sharing custody of your children 50-50, you’ve probably already realized that there are a number of variations on shared custody schedules. One that you may be considering is alternating weeks.

An alternate-week schedule has definite advantages and disadvantages. Whether it’s right for your family depends on your kids as well as on your and your co-parent’s work schedule.

The advantages of an alternate-week schedule

One of the biggest benefits of each parent having the kids for seven days in a row is that there are fewer changeovers. That means less disruption for your kids, and less driving back and forth for you and your co-parent. Further, if things between the two of you are still less than amicable, not having to interact as much can be beneficial.

Another benefit is that you get the week and the weekend with your children. That means more time with your children – particularly if you work long hours. It’s also important for both parents to adjust to parenting alone both on days when their kids need to deal with homework, after-school activities and early bedtimes as well as on the weekends when everyone can relax more. 

What are the disadvantages of alternating weeks?

This type of schedule can be more difficult for younger children who may have a hard time being away from one of their parents for an entire week. Before you decide on this schedule if you have a small child, try it out and see how they do.

Being away from your child for a week can mean that you miss out on some things. They might not be as excited to tell you all about something that happened at school or a friend’s house days after it happened. Of course, if you include nightly video calls in your parenting plan, your child can see and talk to the parent they’re not with every day.

There are many variations even on alternate week schedules. For example, you may include a mid-week dinner or even a sleepover with the other parent. Stay open to all your options you work out your custody agreement and parenting plan

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