Determining weekend custody for kids can be complicated. It’s also more common than you may realize. In fact, there are 13.4 million separated and divorced parents in the US.
With so many moving pieces to consider, it’s important for divorced and separated parents to practice good communication. Depending on your custody arrangement, that can get complicated fast. This is especially true if you end up sharing custody every 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend.
To help you improve co-parenting strategies, we put together this guide to help you navigate your questions. If you need help understanding how to schedule your custody calendar, read on!
When it comes to sharing custody of children, you have a few options. What you end up deciding will depend on what works for you and your co-parents.
Some basic options are:
Just as it sounds, this approach is when both parents have an equal amount of time with their children. But the way that actually looks can vary.
One option is to alternate weeks. One week your kids are with one parent, the next week they’re with the other parent. Choose which day to switch and stick with it.
This strategy for co-parenting works best when both parents live near one another. Your kids’ schedule is going to be more secure and consistent this way.
Another option is to split each week in half. This will require more flexibility from your kids to be going back and forth between parents and living situations. But the benefit is that each parent gets equal time with your kid!
In both these scenarios, they work best if parents live near one another to minimalize disruptions. School, hobbies, and extracurriculars should stay consistent, even while living situations alternate.
If a 50/50 split between parents doesn’t make sense for your family, another alternative is dividing time 60/40. In this situation, kids spend 60 percent of their time with one parent and 40 percent with the other.
Again, there are several arrangements to make this schedule work. One popular option is that one parent has their kids every weekend from Friday night to Monday morning. Then, Monday through Thursday would be spent with the other parent.
The drawback to this is that the same parent has the kids each weekend. For some, this can interfere with fun plans or time spent relaxing together. However, school breaks and holidays are built-in opportunities to enjoy spending time with your kid!
If you don’t want to share custody every weekend, a more flexible alternative is to choose a 4-3 schedule. This is similar to extended weekends but allows for your family to choose which four days are spent with one parent before they spend three days with the other parent.
The 4-3 schedule means you can split weekends so everyone gets to enjoy that time with your kids! But it does require good communication and coordination, as well as living near to one another. Again, you’ll want to minimize disruptions to other areas of your children’s lives.
If you don’t live close enough together to make 50/50 or 60/40 shared custody a possibility, there are other possibilities! Unfortunately, though, that usually means less time with one parent.
When it comes to 80/20 child custody, you still have some options. What you choose will again depend on your schedules and custody arrangement.
One of the simplest options is to simply alternate weekends. One weekend your child will be with one parent, then switch the next.
Another popular option is to share custody every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend. Although more complicated, this schedule ensures more consistent access to both parents.
It might sound easy to understand at first, but sharing custody every 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend can get complicated. But with good communication and scheduling, it can be a great option for your family’s situation!
There tend to be a lot of questions that arise when you go with this schedule, such as:
The options are as flexible as everyone decides they want to be! The most important piece will be to get on the same page early on and stay consistent with your schedule.
When deciding on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend custody plan, it’s typical that any weekend that starts in one month and ends in another would not count as the first weekend of the month.
For example, weekends are usually considered Friday through Sunday. If the Friday is at the end of one month (for example, April 30th) and the Sunday is the beginning of another month (May 2nd), then that weekend would not be considered the 1st weekend of the month.
Instead, this would be considered the 5th weekend of April. That means that the first weekend of May would be Friday, May 7th through Sunday, May 9th.
You can decide if it works better for your family to start on a different day. Maybe you decided to start a weekend on Thursday night instead. Or you end Monday morning. Ultimately, see what works best for your family situation.
If you’re interested in reading more about how to ensure that your custody exchange day runs smoothly, be sure to read our blog post on the subject!
Creating an effective custody schedule is going to depend on several factors. First and foremost in your minds should be what is best for your child or children. Keeping this in mind can make navigating the complexities of sharing custody of children easier.
Once you’ve decided on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, be sure to mark down the specific days and times of any custody exchange well in advance. That way, you can plan work schedules and commitments around these dates.
You should also come up with a plan and arrangements for communication. Having these foundations established early on will help everyone stick to a consistent routine and help navigate any unforeseen obstacles in the future.
Holidays can be tricky to navigate with a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule. The easiest rule is that major holidays take precedent over weekends. For example, kids should be with their mom on Mother’s Day and dad on Father’s Day.
However, it’s a good idea to come up with a holiday visitation schedule in addition to your weekend schedule. That way important holidays and breaks, like Christmas or birthdays, can be split if that’s what you decide.
One of the biggest hurdles for improving co-parenting is making sure everyone is on the same page. This is where a co-parenting app can help everyone communicate.
Using technology to help address communication needs makes it so much easier. It can help keep everyone up-to-date about appointments, school meetings, and extracurricular activities. It can also be customized to help fit everyone’s needs.
Technology and parenting apps can also help track the budget and money spent on your kids. If your daughter needs to pay a fee for her soccer team or your son needs money for new shoes, that can all be tracked in an app.
Navigating finances, alimony, and other expenditures can be overwhelming. But it can get easier with the use of an effective app and consistent use by all parties involved.
Our app also makes it easy to share simple memories that you enjoyed with your kid. This can include funny quotes, heartwarming moments, school information, or documents with one another. And since everything is in one place, it’s easier for everyone to get caught up.
Another benefit is that using technology can help calculate shared time and finances in a way that creates more equality and transparency. That way, there is no ambiguity or miscommunication to create conflict.
If you and your family decide to go with a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, there are some items to keep in mind. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule is consistent, predictable, and steady. This works well to help everyone know when they’ll see each other. While there will always be unknowns, a consistent schedule can be really helpful for your child to navigate between households.
This schedule works well if your two households are not close together. Since custody exchanges are not as frequent as other schedules, it can mean traveling less often.
A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule allows for flexibility. If one parent travels for work or has an unpredictable schedule, there can be advanced planning. In addition, it allows for shifting should something unexpected arise that necessitates a change.
If there is tension between parents, one benefit to this schedule is that it reduced the number of custody exchanges. That can help ensure a smooth transition for your child each time.
A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule means that children go longer stretches between seeing one parent. It also means that children spend significantly more time with one parent.
Even with advanced planning, this schedule can disrupt weekend plans, like classmates’ birthday parties. If parents live far apart, it may not be possible for your kid to make it to these types of events.
The parent who only sees their child on weekends may feel out of touch with their normal weekday routine. This can also lead to not knowing what’s going on at school or with other activities.
For a quick overview of all 1st, 3rd & 5th weekends in 2021 and 2022, check out the list below:
If you and your co-parent have already had the conversations about shared custody arrangements and decided on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, great! Now be sure to prioritize communication and coordination in order to help it go smoothly for everyone involved.
The easiest way for your family to have all your schedules, communications, and information in one place is to use the 2House app.
This co-parenting app puts all the important information on one platform, helping everyone stay up-to-date. It’s also a great tool to use in case of any scheduling changes, finance discussions, and even sharing memories and moments with one another.
If you’re ready to take the next step in creating a smooth shared custody plan, be sure to check out our features and sign up today!
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