Child Custody Schedules Based on Age
Best custody schedules for children based on age and tips to help parents choose the right arrangement.
There are several factors that may determine which custody schedule is best for you, your co-parent, and your child. Taking your child’s age into consideration can help you make a more informed decision about how to split up the custody schedule and handle exchanges.
Custody schedules for infants
The most important thing to keep in mind when you plan a custody schedule for an infant is that the child needs very frequent contact with both parents. For parents with joint custody, this requires quite a bit of back and forth, but it is crucial for your child. There are a number of ways to split up the custody schedule, but your infant should never be away from either parent for more than a few days. Here are some common custody schedules to consider for an infant:
- 2-2-3 schedule: Your baby spends 2 days with one parent, 2 days with the other parent, and then 3 days with the first parent.
- Alternate every 2 days schedule: Your baby alternates spending 2 days with each parent.
- Every third day schedule: Your baby spends every third day with the other parent.
Custody schedules for toddlers
The most important thing to keep in mind when making a custody arrangement for a toddler is that they still need frequent visits with each parent, but they may also have difficulty with transitions. It is best to keep the custody schedule as consistent as possible, while allowing both parents to see the toddler every 2 to 3 days. Here are some common custody schedules to consider for a toddler:
- Alternate every 2 days: Your toddler alternates spending 2 days with each parent.
- 5-2 schedule: Your toddler spends 5 days with one parent and 2 days with the other parent. You may include midweek visits with this schedule.
- Every third day schedule: Your toddler spends every third day with the nonresidential parent.
- 4-3 schedule or a 3-4-4-3 schedule: Your toddler spends 4 days with one parent and 3 days with the other parent.
Custody schedules for kids
As your kids get a little older, you will begin juggling more of their activities and events. Your child may also start to form an opinion on how often they want to transition between your home and your co-parent’s home. It’s important to listen to your child about these matters, while being careful not to burden them with any co-parenting responsibilities. Here are some common custody schedules to consider for school-aged kids:
- Alternate weeks schedule: Your child alternates spending a full 7 days with each parent.
- Split week schedule: Your child spends half the week with each parent.
- 5-2 schedule: Your child spends 5 days with one parent and 2 days with the other parent.
Custody schedules for teens
Once your child enters their teenage years, it’s important to reevaluate your custody arrangement. By this point in your child’s life, you have probably tried a few different arrangements and/or splits based on the needs of all involved. Now that your child is a teenager, their growing freedom and independence should be taken into consideration when deciding the custody schedule.
Many of the custody schedules previously outlined work great for teenagers, so if one worked particularly well for your child, there’s nothing wrong with enacting any one of these arrangements. The every two weeks schedule is another option that may work well for your teen, allowing them to alternate spending two full weeks with each parent.
Keeping track of the custody schedule
A co-parenting communication service, like TalkingParents, can help you manage your custody schedule in one, secure place. We offer a Shared Calendar feature, which allows you and your co-parent to keep track of details related to your child’s schedule, including custody exchanges. All communications handled in the Shared Calendar are on the Record (as with all other TalkingParents features), keeping both parents accountable.