Thomas E. Little

When most people think of parents having split custody of a child, they think of the standard possession order. That’s when one parent has the child the majority of the time and the other parent has the child every other weekend.

There has been a trend developing among legislators, psychologists, and in some courts to order a 50/50 child possession schedule. The reason is that it’s seen as being in the best interest of the child to have close and continuing contact with both parents. Most judges however still prefer the standard possession schedule.

There are a few different ways to create a 50/50 possession schedule. They are designed to work best with both parents’ wishes or work schedules. Of course, for a 50/50 schedule to work the parents need to live fairly close to each other. That eliminates or minimizes concerns about getting the child to school on time and makes exchanges between the parents easier.

Alternating weeks

The easiest 50/50 schedule to understand is where each parent alternates weeks. The mother gets the children one week and the father gets the children the next week. You pick a day and time and everyone knows that the child will switch houses at that day and time.

Pros: Each parent gets an extended period of time with the children. By staying with each parent for a week the children get to establish some routines. The children do not have to change residences as often.

Cons: Parents may not like being apart from the children for an entire week.

2-2-5-5 Possession Schedule

A popular 50/50 possession schedule is the 2-2-5-5 schedule. The mother gets the children a set two days out of the week. The father gets the children a different two days out of the week. The weekends then alternate.

For example, Father gets the children every Monday after school and has them until school starts Wednesday morning. Mother gets the children every Wednesday after school and has them until school starts Friday morning. The father then has the children every Monday and Tuesday, and the mother has the children every Wednesday and Thursday.

The parents alternate every weekend from when school gets out Friday until Monday morning when school resumes. If it’s the father’s weekend with the children, then the father has the children from the time they get out of school Friday until they resume school Wednesday morning. If it’s the mother’s weekend with the children, then the mother has the children from the time they get out of school Wednesday until they resume school Monday morning.

The parents generally adhere to the standard possession schedule for holidays and spring break.

Pros: Each parent gets more frequent contact with their children. The child does not go as long without seeing one parent. During the week, it’s easy to remember which parent the child should be with. The parents may be more involved in school since they each have possession of the child during each school week.

Cons: The children change homes frequently. The parents must be able to keep up with the frequent exchanges.

2-2-3 Possession Schedule

A different version of a 50/50 possession schedule is the 2-2-3 schedule. In this schedule one parent will have the children Monday and Tuesday, then the other parent will have the children Wednesday and Thursday. Then the parent that had Monday and Tuesday will also have the children Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The following week the schedule will switch so that the parent that previously had the children Monday and Tuesday will now have the children on Wednesday and Thursday. The other parents schedule will also switch accordingly.

This schedule may be more complicated, but basically, the possession that a parent had one week will switch the next week.

Pros: This schedule will ensure that children are never away from the parent for more than three nights.

Cons: The frequent exchanges and changing weekly schedules may cause confusion for the children and the parents. Parents need to be diligent about keeping track of homework assignments and extracurricular activities.

If you have questions regarding possible child possession schedules or need to modify an existing child custody order contact the family law attorneys at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant. Give us a call to set up a consultation at (940) 387-3518, or contact us here.