When you are getting divorced in New Mexico and children are involved, handling the physical custody of the children is often one of the biggest questions. Physical custody refers to with which parent the child will live and the parenting schedule that will be followed. This is not the same as legal custody, which addresses which parent is responsible for making major choices for the children.
If you and your co-parent are going to have joint or shared physical custody, you’ll still need to work together to decide what parenting schedule is going to work best for your family. A 50/50 schedule is among the most common joint physical custody arrangements, but you need to think about it and review it with the other parent to decide whether it will work for your family.
What to Consider Before Deciding on a 50/50 Schedule
Naturally, your children having strong relationships with you and your co-parent is a top priority, so you may have thought that a 50/50 split for parenting time is the best way to achieve this goal. However, to have the best custody arrangement, you and your co-parent must be able to fully commit to the 50/50 schedule.
Distance is the first factor to weigh. Since this type of custody often means frequent exchanges of the children, distance between parents is a serious concern. When parents live far apart, having multiple exchanges every week could turn out to be a nightmare.
The second area to consider is communication. With more frequent exchanges, conflict-free and to-the-point communication needs to be maintained. Meetings run late, traffic can slow to a halt, and a lot of other things may happen that will throw exchanges and plans off their timetable. Parents have to be able to communicate civilly with each other when these things happen to avoid major issues.
Last but certainly not least is the current schedule of all involved, Your schedule, your co-parent’s schedule and the childrne’s schedules–activities included–all have to be weighed before the parenting time is arranged.
50/50 Custody Schedules Examples
There is more than one type of 50/50 custody schedule format. Each format has its own benefits and drawbacks, so weigh all the factors involved before deciding which pattern is right for your family.
One of the least complex schedules is the alternating week repeating pattern, a child spends a week with one parent and then the next week with the other parent. This keeps parenting exchanges to once a week and still allows both parents time with their child. Keep in mind that this arrangement is usually best for older children who are better able to deal with longer periods of time away from one parent. Younger children may struggle having to wait to see a parent for a week.
Another variation of this pattern is alternating a week but having one midweek overnight for the parent who is in their week without the kids. Of course, this may not work for parents who live far apart, and some children will have a hard time with this shift of routine.
2-2-3 Repeat Pattern
With a 2-2-3 schedule, the child spends two nights with one parent, two nights with the other parent and then three nights with the first parent again. This pattern is then reversed the next week. A 2-2-3 schedule can work well for families with younger kids, but it does call for more parenting exchanges. Since the days of the week the parent has a child shifts under this schedule, it does call for more coordination when it comes to the child’s activities.
A 3-3-4-4 schedule works much like the 2-2-3 schedule but it keeps the days the same for the parents each week. This can make things easier for parents while providing the kids with more stability.
Whatever schedule you decide on, make sure to tell your family law attorney to include it in your parenting plan. If the schedule you choose today doesn’t work down the road because things have changed, you can have the plan modified to create a better schedule for your family.