What Joint Custody Schedule Will Work for You?

In the United States, there are 12.9 million custodial parents. This means that there are millions of child custody agreements that parents have been able to come to despite a slew of difficulties, including challenging schedules and past conflicts. This can be done in any state, but if you live in New Jersey, you can always consult with a New Jersey family law attorney who can help you draft a joint custody schedule that will provide your children with a healthy upbringing and a full family life.

The Options

There are, thankfully, a slew of scheduling options that can be utilized by you and your former spouse in order to ensure the most consistency and least disruption in your lives.

A popular option is to use alternating weeks. This is simple enough: One parent has a child for one week, and the other parent has the kid for the next, moving back and forth. There are also extended versions of this schedule that allow this to occur every two weeks.

Another option is something along the lines of a 3-4-4-3 schedule. This schedule involves spending three days with the first parent then four days with the next. The following week, the schedule reverses: four days with the first parent and three with the next. This has consistency and ensures that neither the parent nor child in question has to go too long without seeing a kid. There are a variety of variations on this schedule, like 2-5-5-2.

There is also a more frequent switching schedule, like having the child switch homes every two days. This can be disruptive, but if a family lives close together, it can be an easy way for a child to never feel like they are spending too much time away from either parent.

What Factors Should You Consider?

The above options are great potential examples for you to take advantage of, but a lot can go into making the right work schedule for you and your family. Many factors can come into play, and a New Jersey family law attorney can help you determine these options.

Work schedules are often a primary driver of scheduling issues. After all, if your job cannot accommodate the schedule of your choice, then you’re going to have to make adjustments. While some employers will work with parents to accommodate their family schedule, there are limits.

Geographic location is another frequent determinant for figuring out a joint custody schedule. If you and your former spouse live in the same town or same area, you should be able to transition between schedules relatively easily. That being said, if you live in separate states or a further distance away, child custody agreements can get more complicated. The geography of both spouses must be taken into account, with further away locations of residents typically meaning that you have to develop a schedule that allows for an extended period with each parent.

The age of the children also matters. When children get older, they may have after-school activities or social obligations that require more consistency or time with one parent. As such, the joint custody schedule will need to alternate depending on the needs of the child’s academic or social life.

It is also important to consider how well you get along with your ex. Most of the time, divorced parents can cooperate relatively well with hand-offs and potential scheduling conflicts. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Consider how well you and your ex are able to communicate before creating a custody schedule that may force more frequent adjustments and handoffs.

If you live near Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and are looking for a family law attorney, consider reaching out to Morgenstern & Rochester. We have decades of experience in managing even the most difficult child custody cases, working with parents to ensure that your rights are protected and that your children are cared for. Fill out our online contact form, or call us today at 856-489-6200.