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Physical Custody Schedules: What Are the Benefits of a 50/50 or 60/40 Plan?

The days of one parent having custody and the other being allowed a few days of “visitation” are disappearing in the divorce courts. Many parents and judges are finding the children adjust better to divorce when they spend frequent time with both parents. This has brought around 50/50 or 60/40 physical custody.

What do these custody schedules mean?

  • Basically, the numbers represent the percentage of your child’s time with each parent.
  • A 50/50 schedule means the child spends half their time with one parent and half with the other.
  • The 60/40 schedule is close to equal parenting time but one parent has 60% of the time with the child and the other has 40%.

What are the benefits of having a 50/50 or 60/40 schedule?

  • The biggest benefit is your child is they are still and important part of both parents lives.
  • The child knows they are loved.
  • It is easier for the child to transition into the divorce because they still see both parents frequently.
  • Parents also have comfort in knowing they will still be a part of the child’s day-to-day life.
  • The child has some consistency in their life because they usually are staying in the same area, living in the same home, and can take part in the same activities.

What are some of the potential qualifications to having a 50/50 or 60/40 schedule?

  • The biggest issue with these schedules is both parents live near each other. These schedules will not work if parents live further apart.
  • Parents must move past their old relationship and be committed to a having a good co-parenting relationship.
  • Both parents must have stable home environments.

Why might a person choose one schedule over another?

  • Both the schedules are very similar and almost any schedule can be adjusted to fit your needs. However, there are a few reasons one plan may be chosen over another.
  • A 60/40 plan may be chosen because it is decided one parent should have a slightly larger percentage of time. This could be because of work, decisions regarding the physical custody of the child, having the child stay a bit longer in the home they are used to, etc.
  • A 50/50 plan is often chosen when both parents are fully invested in the child and working equally together for the benefit of the child.

What do I do once a 50/50 or 60/40 schedule is decided upon?

  • Now you know what percentage of time you and the other parent are going to have with your child, it is time to determine the actual times the child will be spending with each parent. This is often referred to as a parenting plan.
  • There are many resources for you to use to make your parenting plan. You can ask your attorney, the mediator, research online, use existing software programs, etc. Find out what options are available to you to help you create your parenting plan.
  • There are many parenting plans people have used in the past. For example, with 50/50 joint physical custody, you can use the “alternating weeks plan” which makes it so the child spends one week with you and the next with the other parent. Find out all the different types of schedules and choose the one which works best for your child, the other parent, and you.
  • Submit your plan to the court. If you and the other parent can agree on physical custody and a parenting plan, the court will usually follow your request. However, if you can’t come to an agreement, the court will decide what is best for the child and you will be stuck with it.

Both the 50/50 and 60/40 physical custody schedules are great options for your child. They will be happy to be an important part of both of their parents lives. Make sure that you are both committed to your child and working together for them.


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