Filing for divorce can be one of the most difficult events that occur in a person’s life, and it is only made more stressful and emotional when children are involved. Coming up with a co-parenting schedule that works for your kids, your spouse, and you is absolutely essential when your children are going to be spending time with both parents.
There are an endless number of options when it comes to 50/50 co-parenting schedules. However, no matter what you end up choosing, you want to make sure that you are organized and that the schedule is well-communicated between both parents.
Are you interested in creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right method for you and your family?
Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
How 3-3-4-4 Schedules Work
When sharing custody of children, you want to create a schedule that prioritizes the needs of the children while also being practical for co-parents.
This is a 50/50 residential schedule. It has your child or children staying with one parent for three days of the week and then the other parent for the next three days. Then, the child stays with the first parent for four days before staying with the other parent for the next four days.
What this does is creates an equal amount of time spent with each parent over a two-week period. You can make different variations on this schedule, having a 4-3-3-4 schedule, a 3-4-3-4 schedule, a 4-3-4-3 schedule, and so on.
Creating a 3-3-4-4 Schedule
You can start a 3-3-4-4 schedule on whatever day of the week makes the most sense for you and your family. If you start on a Monday, then one of the weekends is split between the parents while the other is entirely spent with one parent. The same is true if you start the schedule on Sunday.
It’s important to be organized when it comes to creating parental schedules. The easiest way to make sure everyone understands the plan for the week or month is to use an online interactive calendar. This can help parents manage changes to the schedule without any time conflicts.
What Are the Pros and Cons of This Type of Schedule For Custody?
There are a lot of different 50/50 split custody models you can use to design your schedule. With each of them, there are some benefits and some drawbacks. Depending on your schedule and the schedule of your co-parent, as well as the schedule and needs of the child, one of these types of custody schedules might be more appropriate for your family.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a 3-3-4-4 schedule:
- Every week parents have the same nights with the children except for one night a week that switches
- Each week, children are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents
- Both parents get to spend an equal amount of time with the children
- The number of exchanges is minimized compared to other schedule models
- Both parents have the opportunity to participate in daily caretaking
- This can be a schedule that works well for parents who have different work schedules
- The children never have to go very long without seeing either of their parents
On the flip side, there are some things that might make this scheduling model less appealing to you and your family. Some of the cons are:
- It can work out that one parent has the children staying with them every weekend
- The children have to be able to adapt to living in two separate houses during the same week
- Co-parents need to be able to communicate about both the schedule and the children frequently
- Co-parents need to have good communication about both the activities and the schoolwork of the child because there is a midweek exchange
- Both parents need to live close to the children’s school and fairly close to one another for this schedule to be practical
When you are creating a custody schedule, you will want to take a look at the work schedule of both you and your co-parent. At the same time, you will need to consider the school and activity schedule for your child. This information can help guide you to choose a schedule that best supports your child and allows both parents to spend time with the children.
(Are you experiencing anxiety as a co-parent? If so, check out these five tips to help you cope with your anxiety.)
Different 50/50 Schedules For Custody
If this custody schedule doesn’t seem right for your family, there are a number of other options. You might find that some of the other choices offer more benefits for the needs of your family, while others might be completely inapplicable to your situation.
In this model, your child spends a week with you and another week with your co-parent. Depending on your schedule, this can be an easy to keep track of schedule that minimizes exchanges. It also allows your children to spend an entire week in each house, which might help them feel more settled and centered.
Some of the pros of alternating weeks with children include:
- Each parent gets to spend a long period of time with the kids
- The exchanges are limited
- The amount of time each parent has with the children is equal
- It can provide consistency for your kids, particularly if they find change difficult
- You can add overnight or midweek visits so that your children can still see the other parent during the week
- It can help your children stay current on homework and other school assignments
On the negative side, the alternating week schedule means that:
- Both parents will need to live near to the school if the children are school-aged
- Some children might find it difficult and uncentering to have two different homes
- Both parents need to live fairly close to one another
- Parents will need to be in good and frequent communication about the children’s activities and school work
- It can be difficult for both the children and the parents to be apart from their kids for a week at a time
If you like the idea of minimizing exchanges for a 50/50 custody schedule, continue reading to learn about an every two-week schedule.
(Are you confused about what expenses legally have to be shared after you get divorced? Check out this resource to learn everything you need to know.)
Two Weeks Each
This is similar to the previous model except that the children spend two weeks with each parent. Some of the pros of this model include:
- Parents can limit the amount of contact they have with each other
- The number of exchanges is limited each month
- It can be a good solution in high-conflict situations
- The parenting time is equal which can lead to fewer schedule conflicts
- The children have the opportunity to live with each parent for an extended period of time
- Parents don’t have to live as close to one another as with schedules with more frequent exchanges
- You can add in overnight or midweek visits if desired
- Both parents have the opportunity to participate in the daily care of the children
On the other hand, some of the downsides of this model can include:
- Parents who have children that are school-age need to both live near the school
- Some children and parents might struggle to be apart for two weeks at a time
- The children have to adapt to having two different residences
- Parents have to communicate and cooperate about the children
If spending this amount of time apart just isn’t going to work for you, let’s check out some of the schedules that break up each week with both parents getting to spend time with the kids.
This is a schedule where the children spend two days with one parent, two days with the other, five with the first parent, and then five with the second parent. This means that over a two-week period they spend the same amount of time with the children.
This can be good in a number of ways. For one, it allows the kids to spend time with both of their parents during each week. It means that they never have to go a long time without seeing either of their parents and that the parents can have equal time with the kids over the course of the month.
Many people who have nontraditional work schedules find this to be a fitting schedule. It can also work well for children who are young enough to not be in school yet.
Some of the drawbacks include having frequent exchanges that can be difficult to keep track of and might not be ideal in high-conflict situations. This schedule also means that one parent might end up having the kids every weekend.
Another schedule that can work with unusual working hours is the 2-3-3 schedule. This allows kids to spend time with each parent during a typical week and means they never have to go too long without seeing either parent.
This model requires frequent exchanges, however. Some children might not adapt well to switching homes on such a regular basis, as it can be hard to ever feel settled in or centered.
Alternating Every Two Days
This is another schedule that might work for some while not being appropriate for other families. While children never have to go long without seeing either parent, it might be hard for them to adapt to switching homes so frequently. Dealing with the logistics of exchanges so often can also be difficult and time-consuming.
How Do You Choose the Right 50/50 Schedules For Custody?
There are a lot of things you’ll want to take into account when you are sharing custody of children evenly. You will want to honestly consider different aspects of your routine, your relationship with your co-parent, and the needs of your children.
For example, how many days are ideal between visits with your children? On the one hand, you don’t want to go too many days without seeing your child at a time, but you also want to minimize how frequently they are changing homes.
Additionally, how well do you and your co-parent communicate and get along? If you get along just great then you don’t have to worry about this aspect of things. However, if things tend to lean towards conflict, you might want to minimize how much communication and interaction is expected between the two of you as a part of your co-parenting.
You’ll also want to think about how consistent you want to keep the schedule. Is it better to have the same schedule every single week or better to spend the same weeks a month together? It’s important to consider this in conjunction with school, sports, and activities schedules.
Of course, you’ll also want to factor in the ages of your children and what will work best for them. Young children tend to do best with a consistent routine, while tweens and teens typically do better with schedules that allow them to stay in one place for longer at a time.
Schedules For Custody: How to Communicate About Custody in the Digital Age
Creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule can be an appropriate model for many co-parents who are splitting custody. It can allow both parents and children to spend time with each other each week while also minimizing exchanges and disruption to the home life of children.
No matter what schedule you choose, it’s important to have an easy way to make schedule changes and stay organized about your calendar. If you’re ready to minimize confusion and maximize organization and efficiency when it comes to your schedules for custody, check out 2houses today.