Extracurricular Activities and Shared Custody

Shared custody

Whether your child loves soccer or spends every spare minute learning guitar, nurturing their hobbies and interests is important. Extracurricular activities can help your children make friends, learn new skills, build character and give them a place to burn off all that extra energy. Participation in sports and activities can also open up scholarship opportunities for college and ensure that they grow up to be well-rounded individuals who understand that making time for play and fun is just as important as work and responsibility.

Even without a divorce, getting all of the children to all of the activities can be a challenge. Even two-parent families face the problem of not being able to be in two places at once or whose game to attend when practices or tournaments are being held at the same time for different sports in different places. But when you add in shared custody, alternating weekends and trying to determine who pays for what, it adds another level of difficulty. However, this doesn’t mean that your child won’t get to partake in extracurricular activities just because your logistics are a bit more difficult. Understanding the particular challenges that come with shared custody and learning how to navigate them can give you the tools you need to make it work.

How Shared Custody Can Impact Extracurricular Activities

Going from one family to two creates a lot of challenges. You expect to deal with holidays and summer vacation being a bit different or having to always have two copies of all the notices from school, but one area where parents are often surprised at how much shared custody can affect things is with extracurricular activities. Here are just a few of the factors to consider when your child wants to participate in extracurriculars.

Signing Up for Activities

One of the first hurdles that often comes up with shared custody and extracurricular activities is whether or not to even sign the children up for them. It’s not uncommon for parents to want the children to participate in different activities, which can lead to scheduling conflicts. If you want your child to be in the school musical but the other parent wants them to play hockey, and practices are at the same time, only one person can win. In other cases, one parent wants the child to participate in an activity, but the other doesn’t — often because it will mean spending some of their parenting time at practices and games or just because they don’t believe in children having a busy schedule.

This can be a difficult issue to navigate as it often leaves the children in the middle. If you’re finding that you’re having difficulty coming to an agreement, it can help to sit down and explain the reasons behind your requests to the other parent. Maybe this year, the child does the musical and next year, he plays hockey. Just make sure to keep the children out of the decisions, as they may have preferences that should be considered, but you don’t ever want them to feel like they are having to choose sides.

Drop-Offs and Pickups

Extracurricular schedules are known for being intense, especially if you have more than one child. It’s often a race from the end of one practice to the beginning of the other, and there may not be time for a switch from Mom to Dad’s house in between. If you have a good co-parenting relationship with the other parent, it may be a simple matter of adjusting the visitation schedule on the fly as you work out what’s best for the kids and most convenient for the parents. 

However, this can be much more challenging if you are parallel parenting or have difficulty communicating positively with your ex. In these cases, there may not be a lot you can do to make things easier, and you may have to prepare your child to skip a practice that’s being held during the other parent’s time or be willing to give up some of your own parenting time to accommodate the schedule.

Fees and Equipment

While there are many extracurricular programs offered through school and local community programs that are free or low cost, many others can come with hefty participation fees and require specialized expensive equipment. Still others may involve travelling expenses such as hotel rooms for weekend-long tournaments and competitions. This all adds up quickly, and it can be tricky to determine who pays for what. Most parenting agreements don’t detail this by default (although you can have it added), so a lot of it comes down to verbal agreements between the parents, which isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

Family Attendance

One of the best parts about your child participating in extracurricular activities is getting to watch them. However, this isn’t always a simple matter when it comes to two-household families. Maybe you’re fine with sitting with your ex, but you feel awkward around your ex-in-laws. What do you do when your ex brings her new boyfriend? These are all issues that can and do come up, and it can be tense for all the parties involved, including the children. 

If you’re still in the process of divorcing, you may want to consider these factors and see if there’s a way to work some of them into your parenting plan so that there is a clear course of action to follow. For example, you can have added into your parenting agreement that you will split all extracurricular fees 50/50 or that one parent will pay for the participation fees while the other will be responsible for equipment. You can also work into the visitation schedule how transportation to and from practices, games and events will be handled.

Keep in mind that while it can be helpful to have all of this spelled out in writing and able to be enforced by the courts if necessary, it’s not an absolute must. If you have a positive co-parenting relationship and are able to make joint decisions and agree to these things on your own, this can work just as well.

Tips for Making It Work

While the shared custody struggle is real when it comes to extracurricular activities, it’s not something that can be overcome with a few strategies, a joint effort and a positive mindset. Here are our three best practices for making it work. 

1. Prioritize Communication

Communication is key. This is a major theme when it comes to co-parenting, and for good reason. Open and positive communication can go a long way when it comes to working toward joint solutions and problem-solving, and oftentimes, just giving the other parent the heads up and making a civil request can be all you need. It’s important to respect that the other parent has a schedule, needs and wants to work around as well, and by focusing on what works for both of your houses, you’ll be able to stay united as a team and figure out what’s best.

2. Keep the Schedule Handy 

Once you’ve worked out a plan, make sure you put it in writing and where everyone can easily access it. While in a one-household family, this may be as simple as a big wall calendar in the kitchen, but when you’re managing two homes, you need something more adaptable. This is where 2houses comes in. 

The calendar feature on the app lets either parent add an event — along with the who, what, where and when details — so everyone knows exactly where the kids should be and who’s doing the pickup and drop-off without having to actually hold all those details in your mind. The messaging feature also lets you give the other parent a quick heads up if something changes or needs to be adjusted.

3. Focus on Civility

It’s easy to treat your ex as…well…an ex, but this won’t get you far. Instead, try focusing on communicating with and treating the other parent like you would a business client that you really want to keep. This will help you switch from frustration and blaming during a disagreement to a focus on being polite and problem solving. It’s also worth noting that some time there may not be a way to agree or a solution to be had, and if your child has to miss a game or can’t participate in an activity one semester, it won’t be the end of the world even if they may think so. 

What to do about extracurricular activities is just one of many issues that can come up when you have shared custody. Learn more about what to expect as you go from one family to two and how you can move toward positive co-parenting in the 2houses family blog.

60/40 Custody Schedules and What they Really Look Like

Custody Calendar template

More and more parents are choosing to have joint custody in the last few decades as opposed to the traditional every other weekend schedules of the past. While shared custody has shown to be helpful in ensuring the children have a good relationship with both parents, it can get confusing on how to split the time. The 60/40 custody schedule is a popular choice, and it can break down in a variety of ways. Here’s an overview of the 60/40 schedule, some practical examples and considerations for when you’re choosing what works best for your family.

What Does a 60/40 Schedule Actually Look Like?

When we talk about joint custody schedules in terms of numbers, we’re really talking about the percentage of time division between the two parents. In a 50/50 schedule, both parents are spending about half of the time in any given week with the child. In a 60/40 custody schedule, one parent is getting about 60% of the time while the other gets around 40%.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t always work out exactly. For example, the breakdown, depending on which schedule you choose, may actually work out to something like 57/43, but for intents and purposes, it’s referred to as a 60/40 split. Another key principle here is that joint custody schedules take into consideration around-the-clock time, not just time actually spent with the children. So, even if you have the 60 side of the 60/40 split, if your days mostly fall during the week when you are working and the children are in school, you may end up with less face-to-face time than a parent who has the 40% on the weekends.

Common 60/40 Custody Splits

There are many ways to put a 60/40 custody schedule into place, and if both parents are in agreement, they can largely make whatever schedule they want. When you’re deciding on how to make a 60/40 custody schedule work, it’s important to keep in mind the ages of the children. Younger children often do better with shorter times away from the other parent while older children are better able to handle 4-5 day stretches away from the other parent. Here are just a few of the most common 60/40 custody schedules.

Long Weekends

This schedule splits the week into two main parts: the main week and a long weekend. Parent #1 has parenting time from Monday morning to Friday early afternoon, and Parent #2 gets the children from Friday early afternoon to Monday morning. It’s common in this case for Parent #2 to be the one dropping the children off at school on Monday morning and picking them up on Friday afternoon. The main advantage to this schedule is that the days are always the same; however, it also means that one parent gets every weekend. This can be an issue if Parent #1 is working during the week because they end up with very little downtime with the children.


In discussions of custody schedules, you will often see them laid out as numbers with dashes in between. This refers to how the days are separated between the parents. For example, in the 4-3 schedule, Parent #1 gets the children for four days and then Parent #2 gets them for three days. This continues to repeat.

The main difference between this and the long weekend schedule is that, depending on when you start the week, the entire weekend may not be spent with one parent. For example, Parent #1 could get Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and then the other parent would get Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. This schedule can be customized depending on when you want the three-day break with the other parent to be, which can be helpful for families with nontraditional work schedules.


A 2-2-5-5 schedule alternates with Parent #1 getting the children for two days, then they go back to Parent #2 for two days, then back to Parent #1 for five days and then back to Parent #2 for five days. A practical example of this schedule could be:

  • Parent #1: Monday, Tuesday
  • Parent #2: Wednesday, Thursday
  • Parent #1: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday
  • Parent #2: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
2-2-5-5 custody schedule template

This would then repeat. The biggest advantage of this type of schedule is that it alternates weekends so that each parent gets time away from work and school to be with the children. However, it can be complicated to keep track of.


The 2-2-3 schedule is often used for younger children because there are no long stretches away from either parent. An example of this schedule is:

  • Parent #1: Monday, Tuesday
  • Parent #2: Wednesday, Thursday
  • Parent #1: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Parent #2: Monday, Tuesday
  • Parent #1: Wednesday, Thursday
  • Parent #2: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
2-2-3 custody schedule template

This schedule also allows for alternating weekends and can be simpler to keep track of than the 2-2-5-5 split. However, it does require a lot of shuffling between houses, which can be difficult for children who feel like they don’t really have one main home. There are often also reentry issues when the children switch between houses, especially if the rules between the two are very different. In this type of schedule, the children are almost always coming from or going to a house, so these issues may be worsened.

How 60/40 Custody Schedules Can Affect Other Issues

If you are still trying to decide how you are going to share custody, it’s important to keep in mind that your physical custody schedule is different from your legal custody. For example, it’s common for parents to have shared physical custody so they both get ample time with the children but for one parent to retain sole legal custody. This means that one parent still has the decision-making power for things like education, religious and medical decisions. Always make sure that you know exactly what your physical and legal custody division is.

If you do decide to go with a 60/40 custody schedule, it can affect the amount of child support you receive or have to pay. In a 50/50 shared custody split, it’s common for judges to not award child support to either party because they are sharing the time equally, and the assumption is that they are also sharing the cost of living for the children equally because of this. In a 60/40 custody schedule, the judge may award some child support to the parent with the 60%, particularly if there is a large income disparity between the two parties, but it’s likely to be much less than the custodial parent would get in a sole physical custody schedule with the noncustodial parent only getting the children every other weekend.

The last consideration for any type of shared custody schedule is that it requires a great deal of communication and coordination between the parents — particularly in the case of the 2-2-5-5 and 2-2-3 splits where the children are changing houses frequently. If you have a positive co-parenting relationship with the other parent and are able to keep the lines of communication open, this can work very well. However, these kinds of schedules can be difficult if for high-conflict situations. In these cases, it may be better to stick to the 4-3 split or a long weekend schedule so that the schedule stays the same from week to week.

60/40 Custody Schedules and 2houses

Co-parenting apps like 2houses can make it much easier to track and manage joint custody schedules. For example, the calendar app lets you put the custody schedule directly on to the calendar so that you can always see at a glance who the children will be with when. This is especially helpful in the case of more complicated 60/40 custody schedules like the 2-2-5-5 and 2-2-3 options. You can also add all important dates, extracurricular activities, doctors’ appointments or anything else that needs to be taken care of to the calendar so that both parents know exactly what needs to happen on their parenting time without the other parent having to tell them or remind them.

The message feature is also helpful for shared custody situations because it provides an easy way to coordinate with the other parent in a secure way. Children who are often changing houses might have medication that needs to go with them or may forget a sports uniform or report for school, and being able to take care of these things all within the same app is very helpful for efficient communication and automatic documentation purposes.

Find out more about how 2houses can help make your co-parenting journey less stressful and more productive by checking out our features rundown and then signing up for our free 14-day trial so you can see the benefits for yourself.