This is one of the most common questions that I am asked when clients come into my office. It is also one of the most disputed issues in California Divorce and Family Law cases involving the custody of children. 50/50 custody sounds fair and it sounds like the right thing to do when parents are to split up. However, 50/50 custody arrangements are at times found to be disruptive to the children and courts will find in favor of a custodial parent and non-custodial parent child sharing arrangement. This is most commonly the case where one parent has historically been the primary caregiver to the children. I don’t say this to discourage working fathers or working mothers from seeking a 50/50 child sharing plan, only to point out the reality as these issues come down in family law court rooms today. As a Del Mar divorce lawyer, I have represented parents on both ends of the argument and had success obtaining 50/50 child custody orders in many different types of cases.
This said, it is always best for the parents to work out a child sharing plan together and without judicial intervention and the involvement of competing divorce lawyers. Parents are welcome to agree to whatever child sharing plan they wish so long as they agree that the child sharing plan is in the best interests of the children.
If a 50/50 child custody arrangement is the way your case is headed, here are some common options for how to set up a 50/50 custody plan:
Types of 50/50 Child Custody Plans
- Week On – Week Off
This arrangement, while widely used and often desired by parents, is disfavored in family courts, as my view as a family attorney of San Diego. The reason that the week on week off schedule is not ideal is that it doesn’t provide for frequent access to each parent. With this plan, the children would go an entire week without seeing the other parent which, especially in younger children could create some separation anxiety.
This arrangement is probably the most favored approach to 50-50 custody plans. This arrangement provides that each week the children spend 2 weekdays with each parent and that the parents alternate weekends from Friday to Sunday. With this schedule the children get to experience each parent for an equal amount of time and never go more than three days between seeing each parent. The 2-2-3 schedule is commonly used and I always suggest this plan for my clients going through a child custody dispute.
- Nest Approach
Probably the rarest of the options available to parents involved in a 50-50 child custody arrangement for many reasons, the Nest Approach provides that the children are always living in the same house and the parents alternate in and out of the house according to the arranged parenting plan. Obviously this approach would require that three homes are maintained, one for each parent, and one for the family. I have never used nor have I suggested this approach for my clients. Although it sounds good in theory, it simply is not practical.
With any 50-50 child custody plan, it is very important that the parents reside relatively close to one another so that the children are not being separated from friends and connections in the neighborhood that they are used to living in. Further, the commute to and from school becomes a serious issue for parents exercising 50-50 child custody plans, but living far apart.
If you have questions about child custody and child sharing plans in San Diego, you can check out Griffith & Young’s website for information on the child custody process in California. If you would like to discuss your case with a San Diego Divorce Lawyer, call 858-345-1720 to speak with Attorney John Griffith today.