The Many Meanings of “Shared Custody” in Pennsylvania
The term “shared custody” gets thrown around a lot in Pennsylvania custody cases. Sometimes it’s used interchangeably with “50/50” custody. Where appropriate, shared physical custody is a great way of ensuring that each parent maintains a continuing and significant role in their children’s lives and gets to see them often. To parents who are new to shared custody however, the actual process of scheduling each parent’s custodial time can be difficult. If you think that shared custody would be a good fit for your family, here are four possibilities for you to consider:
- Week on/ Week off
Under a week on/week off model, the children will stay with Parent A from Sunday pick-up all the way through to the next Sunday drop-off. Parents opting for the week on/week off schedule may coordinate dinner visits for the non-custodial parent once or twice during the week so that neither party goes for too long a stretch without spending time with the children. Week on/week off is great for families who live in close proximity to one another and to the children’s school and activities.
2. Week on/Week off with Midweek Overnights
Similar to number 1 above, a Week on/ Week off schedule with midweek overnights will give your children nice long stays at each parent’s home. Whereas a straight week on/week off schedule can include midweek dinner visits to ensure that neither parent goes 7 consecutive days without seeing their children, a week on/ week off with midweek overnights extends those dinner visits into overnight visits.
A 2-2-3 schedule is based off of the idea of the children spending alternating weekends at each parent’s house beginning with pick-up on Friday afternoon and ending with drop-off on Monday morning. As for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, parents will split this time evenly as well. So for instance, in Week 1 Parent A would have the children Monday and Tuesday, and then Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Parent B then would have the children Wednesday night and Thursday night in Week 1. Week 2 the schedules reverse, with Parent B now having the children Monday and Tuesday, then Friday, Saturday Sunday. Parent A would have the children on Wednesday night and Thursday night.
4. Every Other Day
An every other day schedule is as it sounds; the children will go back and forth to each parent’s home each day. Every other day schedules really require that the parents communicate well and support one another despite their differences. With an every other day schedule, scheduling conflicts will occur with some regularity and days will need to be swapped where appropriate.
These are just four of the hundreds of different configurations that you and your ex can use to affect a split custody schedule. Explore using electronic resources like Google Calendar, MyFamilyWizard.com, and different mobile apps that can help you and your spouse to carve out and honor one another’s roles in your children’s lives. Your children will appreciate and benefit from your ability to collaborate with one another and you will have a more rewarding co-parenting relationship.