When people in New Jersey or Pennsylvania hear the phrase “joint custody,” most envision a custody situation in which both parents have equal time with their children. However, joint custody can refer to legal decision-making authority, physical custody or both. Parents who agree to joint physical custody can create different schedules that work for them and their families.
Joint custody schedules
When parents have joint custody, this does not always mean that their children will alternate weeks with them. Parents can devise a visitation schedule that works the best for both themselves and their children. The best schedules will take into account the ages of the children, each parent’s working hours, the children’s extracurricular activities, transportation needs and school schedules.
Several different types of schedules might give each parent nearly equal time with their children. Some examples of how these schedules might work include the following:
- Alternating weeks with each parent
- Alternating weeks with a visit scheduled with the other parent midweek
- Alternating weeks with an overnight with the other parent scheduled midweek
- Two days with one parent, two days with the other parent and then two days with the first parent
- Three days with one parent, three days with the other parent and then four days at each home
- Two days with one parent, two days with the other parent and then five days with each parent
Benefits of joint custody
Sharing physical custody of children might allow both parents to develop close, meaningful relationships with their kids. When parents can successfully work together as co-parents, their children will benefit.
Once a parenting schedule is determined, the parents can include it in their parenting plan and file it with the court. An experienced child custody attorney may help their client negotiate a schedule with the other parent that will meet the needs of everyone involved.