As Montana parents begin to plan their parenting schedule, they should be aware of the different options available. Joint custody plans can be flexible to fit the needs of both parents and children. They can also change over time, as children grow and the family dynamics and interests change.
The term joint custody usually refers to physical shared custody. This means that the children split their time with their parents almost equally. However, there are many ways time can be divided. In creating a joint custody schedule, parents should consider a variety of factors, including:
- Each parent’s work and life schedule
- The children’s schedule at school and for extra-curricular activities
- The distance from each parent’s home to the children’s schools and activities
- The children’s preference, as they get older
Parenting Plan Schedules
Each family should work together towards finding the child custody arrangement that best fits their needs. One way parents can plan their schedule is by having the children alternate weeks with each parent, which might also include a midweek visit or overnight stay with the other parent. Other ways include splitting the days between parents, such as three days with one parent, three days with the other parent, then four days with each parent. When the days are divided in a certain rotation, this also usually includes alternate weekends with each parent.
Parenting schedules, like parenting itself, evolve. For example, younger children might need to spend more time with their primary caretaking parent and as they grow, they can transition into a different plan. Or a parent might ask to switch days so they can enjoy a certain event with their children, even if that day was not theirs in the original schedule. Parents who can communicate and work together while keeping the best interest of the children in mind will appreciate the flexibility joint custody can provide.