Transitioning between being an intact family and an intact household to one where the parents live in different households and have to share time with their children can be very difficult.
First and foremost, it’s very important to sit down with your co-parent if you are able to and open the lines of communication from the very beginning. Sit down with the school calendar. Figure out what the schedule is during the week. Figure out the kids’ extracurricular activities, after school and on the weekends.
Popular example schedules
Figure out what type of schedule would be in your children’s best interest. For example, we have what’s called a 5-2-2-5 plan. Parent one has Monday, Tuesday with the children. Parent two has Wednesday, Thursday with the children, and then the parties alternate weekends from thereon out. That schedule is really beneficial because it truly affords each parent equal time during the week and on the weekends, so we do find that it is a very popular schedule and works really well for the kids.
Another example schedule
Another potential schedule is a 3-4-4-3 schedule. Parent one has the first three nights. Parent two has the next four, and then parent one gets the next four after that, and it just rotates from thereon out. Again, this is a pretty popular schedule because it does afford each parent pretty equal time with the kids both during the week and on the weekends.
Example schedules for older kids
We have seen some schedules go for one week on and one week off. I find that this is a little bit more attainable the older the child is. However, the younger the child is, being away from one parent for seven days at a time can be very difficult.
We’ve also seen some people do a two week on, two week off schedule, which, again, works best for older children, especially when the child is in high school.
A more challenging option
Some parents choose to do alternating weekends. So, let’s say, the father has the majority of the time and the mother gets the kids every other weekend. Certainly, if that’s something that you and your co-parent decide on, that’s great.
Yet it can also be difficult because in that arrangement, mom’s not as involved during the week with the kids. It’s also harder to be an every other weekend parent, just by the very nature of not having much time with your kids. Either way, you can see that there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to explore different types of parenting time arrangements to see what works best for your kids.