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Custody Schedules

Pros and Cons of 50 50 Custody

50 50 custody has been shown to produce numerous benefits for the children of separated and divorced parents. But other custody schedules are often used. Why?

Here, I want to explain the pros and cons of 50/50 child custody. If you look at the advantages for children, such as being close to both parents, the arrangement is certainly attractive.

The disadvantages are fewer and often logistical, such as parents living too far from one another for frequent changeovers to be supported. Some of the supposed disadvantages are more myth than reality.

What 50 50 Custody Means

50 50 custody means that a child or children spend equal amounts of time under the care of each parent or guardian.

  • Custody percentages are usually calculated using the number of nights spent with each parent (but can also be calculated in hours).
  • 50 50 custody means children spend, on average, 182 to 183 nights with each parent per year.

50 50 custody means the parents share joint physical custody of a child — you don’t have one parent dominating care responsibilities. Almost always, the parents also share joint legal custody, meaning they must consult when making major decisions (such as choice of school).

Types of 50 50 Custody Schedules

The most well known 5050 custody schedule is week about. This is where a child spends exactly one week with each parent at a time. However, the timetable is only really best for older children when school is out for summer.

Another common schedule is the 3-2-2 fortnightly timetable.

  • You have your children from Friday through to Monday morning.
  • Then you have them again for overnights on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • And you have them again for the Monday and Tuesday nights.

It’s an alternating weekend pattern with alternating 2-day blocks during the week.

For very young children, 50 50 custody requires lots of changeovers. Because the children need to keep seeing each parent frequently, they may be swapping homes every 1 or 2 nights.

Pros of 50 50 Custody

50 50 custody is the ultimate form of shared parenting. The two parents are treated as equals and fully share responsibilities for raising children. Here are the main pros of equal custody and other shared parenting plans.

1. Children have two involved parents

50 50 custody allows children to benefit as far as practical from having two parents. They can draw on the different strengths of their mother and father, including the resources and connections of both extended families. Humans have evolved having two parents and 50 50 custody is the best way to keep that when parents live apart.

2. Parents get rest breaks

Mother relaxing

Parenting is a challenging and energy-sapping role at the best of times. Who wouldn’t want to get a break every now and then? With 50 50 custody, each parent is able to give their best because they have rest breaks between visits.

The fact that I constantly have to find childcare is probably more exhausting than the not sleeping. I have to find childcare just to get the time and space to recharge.

Becky L McCoy

The benefits of sharing parenting duties are many. Not only do parents get rest breaks, but they can have a life beyond looking after children. That allows both parents to have hobbies and interests, maintain a bigger friendship group, build a career and generally be better role models for their kids.

3. Double the household resources

Being a kid in a 50 50 custody arrangement has the advantage that you live across 2 households. That makes for an interesting and varied upbringing.

Anything that one household lacks the other may provide. For example, one parent might live close to a park and the other close to shops.

4. Improved living standards

Living across 2 households improves a child’s living standards generally. For a start, both parents are more likely to work full-time.

As well, you avoid living full-time in a low-income sole-parent household. Children are likely to spend more time with the higher-earning parent. Fathers generally earn more than mothers but often miss out with respect to custody.

Cons of Equal Custody

The main drawback to 50 50, equal custody is that it can be difficult logistically. You really need both parents to live near the school district for example. Otherwise, spending equal time with one parent involves long school trips in the morning and/or afternoon.

Traveling long distance by car

People consider that shared parenting has children traveling all the time and being unsettled. But this is largely a myth. The best 50/50 custody schedules time changeovers so they happen through school. There is no extra travel involved. And, with 50 50 custody, a child feels at home at both the places where they live.

50/50 may be unsuitable for very young child who really need a home base. It is also unsuitable if parents live far apart.

But parents can always move closer and children get older. So, I believe just about every set of parents should consider agreeing on a 50 50 custody schedule or including provisions for it in their parenting plan.

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Custody Schedules

How Many Overnights is 70/30 Custody?

A 70/30 child custody schedule usually means 2 overnights visitation per week or, in more practical terms, 4 overnights per fortnight. Two nights out of every 7 is 29% visitation time, which makes it very close to a 70/30 percentage split.

About 70/30 Child Custody

A fairly common custody arrangement is to have a child (or children) live with one parent, the custodial parent, and spend around 70% of their time with them. The child also visits the other parent, the non-custodial parent, and spends around 30% of their time in his or her care (usually “his” care).

The terms custodial and non-custodial parent (or primary carer and non-primary carer) can be applied since the child is spending greater than 35% of their time in the care of one parent. Typically, the custodial parent is the mother and the non-custodial parent is the father.

Many parents with 30% or less custody complain that their time with the child or children is insufficient to develop truly close bonds. They may not feel as though they are a full parent, especially when they are given the non-custodial parent tag.

In contrast, more even custody schedules, such as 60/40 or 50/50, are usually referred to as joint physical custody or shared care. The two parents have equal or reasonably equal amounts of time when they are responsible for the care of the child or children.

More than “Every Other Weekend”

Since 70/30 child custody works out to 4 overnights with the non-custodial parent per fortnight, this amount of custody is more even than “every other weekend”.

Even if a child spent an extended weekend, from Friday through to Monday morning, with the non-custodial parent each fortnight, that would only be 3 overnights. So, the custody arrangement must include extra visitation time.

Let’s look at popular custody schedules for children of different ages. Timtab.com has detailed examples of these sorts of 70/30 child custody schedules. You can also create your own custody schedule using Timtab’s excellent software.

Every Other Weekend and Every Other Monday Schedule

For older children especially, a popular 70/30 custody schedule is to have an extended weekend with the non-custodial parent every other weekend plus a Monday visit after the weekend with the custodial parent / primary carer.

The schedule provides for a lengthy visit each fortnight. As well, the Monday visit means the child is never away from the non-custodial parent for more than a week.

Every Other Weekend and Monday, Thursday Custody Schedule

An alternative schedule is to shorten the alternate weekend with the non-custodial parent. Instead of 3 overnights from Friday to Monday, it can be 2 overnights: Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday. The extra day can then used to add a visit every alternate Thursday.

The advantage of this schedule is that children are never away from the non-custodial parent for more than 4 days. The disadvantage is there are more changeovers, with 3 separate visits per fortnight. The schedule suits younger children who are less able to tolerate extended time away from each parent.

70/30 Weekly Schedules for Toddlers

Toddler girl

For babies, toddlers and pre-school children, the best schedules are not of the every other weekend kind. The 4 overnights per fortnight are best spread out over 4 visits. That way, the child is never away from their custodial parent, usually their mother, for more than 1 night.

For toddlers, a popular schedule is to have an overnight visit every weekend, such as Saturday, plus a midweek visit every Wednesday. The schedule provides for consistent, predictable contact with each parent.

A simple weekly schedule can be defined in this case. For example, you could say “The child visits with the father each week from 5pm Wednesday to 9am Thursday and from 9am Saturday to 9am Sunday.” For such a schedule to work, the parents would have to live quite close to one another.

2 out of 3 Weekends Timetable

Another 70/30 parenting timetable, which is especially helpful for long-distance co-parenting, is 2 out of 3 weekends. The child visits with the non-custodial parent from Friday to Monday following a pattern of two weekends on and then one weekend off.

The arrangement gives 6 overnights per 3 weeks, which is the required average of 2 overnights per week. It is ideal for long distance travel since all visits are on the weekend. The non-custodial parent isn’t involved in school commutes except on Friday afternoon or Monday morning.