One of the most difficult parts of a divorce or separation involves determining child custody and visitation. Even when the parents can discuss custody and visitation amicably, it can be complicated to decide where the child lives, how often they visit the other parent, and what holidays go with which parent.
Over time, the parenting schedules can change as children get older or a parent has to move out of state. Developing a balanced child custody and visitation schedule at the beginning can help you avoid disputes later on. It can also provide enough flexibility to accommodate changes and avoid having to take your case to court. If you have questions about child custody or visitation schedules, contact the Higher Level Legal Law Firm today.
Common Custody and Visitation Schedules
Child custody and visitation schedules will depend on a number of factors, including the age of the child, number of children, and where the parents live. Custody can range anywhere from 50/50 schedules to supervised visitation only. Generally, the closer the parents live to each other allows for the most flexibility for time with the child.
50/50 schedules allow for roughly equal time for parenting. This can include alternating three to four days with each parent each week, alternating weeks, or two-week alternating schedules. 50/50 schedules work best for parents with joint custody who live close to each other. They may also be most appropriate for parents who maintain a good relationship since there is regular interaction between the parents.
60/40 or 70/30 Schedules
60/40 and 70/30 schedules can include weekends or extended weekends with one parent and the school week with the other parent or every 3rd week. This may allow the child to have more time at one home and provide consistency for their school week while still allowing regular time with the other parent.
An 80/20 schedule may be a better option for parents who live further away while still providing regular visits from the non-residential parent. This includes alternating weekends, where the child has a home base and regular school schedule but can still see the other parent every other weekend or extended weekend.
Holidays and School Breaks
Just about any custody and visitation schedule plan should account for holidays and school breaks. Holiday and school break schedules can vary depending on the age of the child, the importance of certain holidays for parents, and where parents live. When making a visitation schedule, parents should provide for major holidays, special dates, and school breaks, including:
- The child's birthday,
- School in-service days,
- 3-day weekends,
- Spring break,
- Winter break, and
- Summer break.
Holidays can be tricky and may generate some disputes where certain holidays may be more important to one parent or the non-custodial parent wants the majority of breaks and holidays to make up for less time with the child. Options for school breaks and holidays include:
- Alternating holidays every other year;
- Sharing the holiday by splitting the time;
- Scheduling the holiday on another day; or
- Designating holidays for each parent.
One of the most common options is alternating holidays every other year. One year, Parent A can spend Christmas with the child and the next year Parent B gets Christmas visitation.
It is easier to split holidays over longer breaks or where the parents live near each other. For example, one child can spend time on the 4th of July at a county fair during the day and at night, the child sees the other parent for fireworks.
Holidays on New Dates
Parents are more commonly celebrating holidays on the non-designated date. A parent can spend Thanksgiving Thursday with the child and the other parent can have a Thanksgiving feast on the following Saturday.
Certain holidays may be more important for one parent than the other. This includes certain holidays that may be more family-focused, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. One parent may also celebrate different holidays based on their religion. When parents can agree on designating certain holidays, this allows for predictable holiday schedules.
Going Out of Town for Vacations
Longer vacations out of town, out of the state, or even out of the country may take more planning. Parents should provide for vacation times that break from the standard visitation schedule. Most commonly, summer and winter vacations offer a long enough break to take children away from their regular schedule without missing school.
Modifying the Custody and Visitation Schedule
If there are problems coming to an agreement on a child custody or visitation schedule or if the schedule needs to be modified, contact the Higher Level Legal Law Firm in Raymore today. The Higher Level Legal Law Firm will be able to give you options for custody and visitation and take action to make sure you get to spend quality time with your child during the important and formative years. Contact us online or by calling (816) 331-9968.