When it comes to devising a parenting plan, there is no hard and fast rule. A good parenting plan should be something that works for you, the child’s other parent, and the child. That said, the first rule of your individual parenting plan should be what is in your child’s best interest.
There are many different types of custody and visitation schedules that fit the unique needs of your individual family’s situation. Below, we provide a brief guide on the 2-2-5 custody schedule.
What is a Parenting Plan?
If you and the child’s other parent are going through a divorce, it is important to note that it could take a number of months before it is finalized, depending on how complicated your divorce is. In other words, you should have a temporary parenting plan in place during the divorce process and work on coming up with a parenting plan after your divorce is finalized.
A parenting plan is an agreement between you and the child’s other parent that is designed to help you make decisions about important issues, including:
- Days and time your child will be with you and your child’s other parent.
- A joint decision-making process for your child that you and the other parent can agree to.
- Guidelines on when your child can meet a new partner for you and/or the child’s other parent.
- Your child support payments and guidelines
- Protections to keep your child out of the details of your divorce
- Any custom provisions that apply to your individual situation
The 2-2-5 Custody Schedule
With a 2-2-5 custody schedule, one parent will always have their child on Monday and Tuesday and the other parent Wednesday and Thursday. Then they alternate weekends. The longest your child will go without seeing you or the other parent is five days.
One of the pros of a 2-2-5 custody schedule is that your child will get equal time with you and their other parent, both on weekdays and weekends. In most cases, the weekdays with your child will be dominated by homework, meals, and bedtime. Since the weekends with your child would be the fun time, your child will get the stricter and fun part of both you and their other parent.
The cons to a 2-2-5 custody schedule is that your child may not like being moved around during the weekdays. If your child does not like change, the 2-2-5 parenting plan may not be in their best interest.
Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody
It is also important to remember that there are two types of custody: physical and legal. Generally speaking, physical custody involves having your child on the different days of the week. Legal custody deals with whom is going to make the major decisions regarding your child, such as school, religion, and healthcare. You and the child’s other parent can have joint legal and physical custody.
When you are thinking about any custody schedule, you need to decide whether you and your child’s other parent are going to have 50/50 physical custody, or if there is another shared custody percentage that may work best for you, your child, and your child’s other parent.
Your Custody Schedule: Things to Consider
When coming up with the best custody schedule for your family, there are certain factors that should enter into your decision. They include:
- The Age of Your Child: Infants and toddlers normally require more frequent transitions, in order to have good relationships with both of the parents. Young children do better with a consistent routine for stability. Tweens and teens generally prefer a schedule that gives them time to stay longer in one household because of school, friends, and extracurricular activities.
- Be Flexible: To benefit your child, you and the child’s other parent must be willing and have the ability to be flexible with your custody schedule. You will both need to ask yourselves: Do you or the other parent travel for work? Can you accommodate the schedule you want without it becoming an issue for your child?
- Right of First Refusal: The right of first refusal is when you or the other parent may need to hire a babysitter. In the right of first refusal, you and the other parent need to give each other the choice for the child to be with either of you, rather than a babysitter.
No matter which custody schedule you and your child’s other parent agree to, you both need to co-parent in a successful way.
In order to achieve this goal, you have to consider how holidays, birthdays, vacations, and school schedules will fit into your parenting plan.
Many times, co-parents will alternate holidays and days off from school each year, or the way that works best for you and your family and most effectively reduces conflicts.
The key to any good custody schedule or parenting plan is to have good communication. You and your child’s other parent must be able to discuss any issues that may arise with your child and have a way to resolve these issues, and you must not drag your child into the middle of your disagreement.
Many parents use email to communicate, and you should keep your emails brief and to the point. Do not reduce yourselves to name-calling and accusing each other of petty things; this behavior solves nothing.
If you and your child’s other parent cannot come to any type of agreement, it may be helpful to use a mediator or parenting coordinator that specializes in conflicts between parents, so you can resolve any disputes or disagreements.
It is always better to resolve any issues or disagreements yourselves. If that just is not possible for whatever reason, then there is no harm in calling in a professional to help you come up with a strategy for finding a solution to your co-parenting dilemma.
Even when a divorce is finalized, it is important to remember that you are still a family. You and your child’s other parent are still going to be connected because of your child, so it is vital that you figure out how to navigate parenting after divorce. By figuring out a plan now, it will set the tone for the years to come.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the best interest of your child.