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When you share joint custody with your children’s other parent, you’re both entitled to time with your kids. The best way to handle this shared custody agreement is through a joint custody schedule that works for each of you. 

So where do you start?

What is a Joint Custody Schedule?

Joint custody schedules are time-share agreements between parents. When two parents share joint custody – meaning that the children live with each of them in separate residences – it’s best to come up with an agreement in writing. The agreement can be as specific or as vague as you want it to be, but your Beverly Hills divorce attorney may suggest that you make it more on the specific side. That way, there’s no confusion about who gets the children at which times, and if there is a discrepancy, you can fall back on the schedule.

A joint custody schedule should address each day of the week and special plans for holidays, special occasions and other important dates.

Types of Joint Custody Schedules

You and your children’s other parent can work together to create a joint custody schedule that works for you. Some of the most common custody schedules look like this:

  • Wednesday nights and weekends 
  • Week-on, week-off joint custody schedules
  • 2-2-3 custody agreements

Here’s a closer look at each.

Wednesdays and Weekends

Some parents choose to share custody by giving one parent time every Wednesday and every weekend. That amounts to three days per week (and four with the other parent). Depending on your work schedule, and depending on what types of activities your kids participate in during the week, this might be an option for you. You don’t have to choose Wednesdays and weekends, either – you can simply choose two back-to-back days and another day if it works better for your family.

This type of joint custody schedule could look like this:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent B


Week-on, Week-Off 

If you have older kids, they may do well by spending one full week with you and one week with their other parent. You can make the switch on weekends to minimize disruption during the school week if this type of schedule works for your family.

This isn’t typically ideal for younger children, who benefit more from seeing both parents more frequently. In fact, this kind of schedule can be stressful for small kids – so if you’re considering it, make sure it meets your children’s best interests before bringing your parenting plan to the judge.

2-2-3 Shared Custody Schedules

A 2-2-3 joint custody schedule can work well when the two parents live relatively close to each other. It involves the children spending two full days and nights with Parent A, the next two full days and nights with Parent B, and three full days and nights with Parent A before starting the schedule over again with Parent B. That way, each parent gets three full days with the children every other week.

However, this schedule changes every week. This type of schedule could look like this:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent B

Parent A

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent B

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent B

Parent B

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent B

Parent A

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent B

Parent A

Parent A

Parent B

Parent B

Parent B

 

What About Step-Up Parenting Plans?

Sometimes it’s appropriate to set up a step-up parenting plan in an effort to eventually share joint custody with your kids’ other parent. These types of schedules are very common, and they allow kids to get more familiar with noncustodial parents. A step-up parenting plan “steps up” the amount of time a child spends with his or her other parent. Judges often use these for infants and very small children, for example, who are used to their primary caregiver and would have a difficult time adjusting (or could even become traumatized) to living in two households.

Addressing Holidays in a Joint Custody Schedule

Your joint custody schedule should also address holidays and school breaks. For example, one of you may get your children over Spring Break during even-numbered years while the other gets them during odd-numbered years (or you might go half-and-half on spring break). You might alternate your children’s birthdays, keeping siblings together, and you may get the kids on your own birthday. Your holidays might look like this:

Holiday

Parent A

Parent B

New Year’s Eve

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

New Year’s Day

Even-numbered years

Odd-numbered years

Martin Luther King’s Birthday (weekend)

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

President’s Day (weekend)

Even-numbered years

Odd-numbered years

Spring Break

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

Mother’s Day

Each year, if appropriate

Each year, if appropriate

Memorial Day (weekend)

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

Father’s Day

Each year, if appropriate

Each year, if appropriate

Independence Day

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

Summer Break*

Labor Day (weekend)

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

Indigenous Peoples’ Day (weekend)

Even-numbered years

Odd-numbered years

Halloween

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

Thanksgiving Day

Even-numbered years

Odd-numbered years

Thanksgiving (weekend)

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

December holiday break

Even-numbered years

Odd-numbered years

Child’s birthday

Odd-numbered years

Even-numbered years

Parent A’s birthday

Every year

Parent B’s birthday

Every year

*During summer break, you may wish to negotiate with your children’s other parent each year. One or both of you may want to take extended trips with (or without) the children, so if you’re able to reach agreements, you can. You can also set it up so that each parent has the children for a two-week stretch in the middle of summer so you don’t have to negotiate, or you can stick to your regular joint custody schedule all year.

You may wish to plan for other special events, too. You can set up your joint custody schedule however you’d like – as long as it’s in your children’s best interests.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Joint Custody Schedule?

If you’re splitting up from your kids’ other parent and need to work out a joint custody schedule, or if you’re not sure what type of custody arrangement will work best for your family, we can help. Call us right away at 310-683-4623 to schedule your free consultation with a Beverly Hills child custody attorney today.