How does a joint custody agreement usually work?

Read more to find out what different joint custody arrangements exist for your ex and your children.

By Lisa Duffee
June 26, 2006

There are many creative approaches that you can take in determining what custody arrangement would work best for your family. Each family is different, and the ideal schedule should be tailored to the individual family. It may be helpful in a given case to consult a child psychologist to determine what would work best for your children. Some possibilities to consider are:

  1. Traditional Schedule: One parent has the children under a standard possession schedule, which is: first, third, and fifth weekends, beginning at the time school is dismissed on Fridays and ending at the time school resumes on Monday mornings, as well as Thursdays during the school year, beginning at the time that school ends and ending at the time school resumes the following day. In addition, parents alternate holidays, with extended additional time in the summer. The other parent would have the children the rest of the time. For some children, this schedule is preferred, because that particular child functions best with one "home base" where they primarily reside.
  2. Equally Shared Time: For some children, a truly 50/50 schedule is preferred. Some people accomplish this by alternating weeks or months. If alternating weeks, the parents might exchange the children every Monday at school or parents might have the children under a 2-2-5 schedule where each parent has the children for two days during the week and then the parents alternate weekends giving parents up to five uninterrupted days every other week with the children.
  3. Shared Time with a Twist: When there are two children, child psychologist Dr. Coakley sometimes recommends that Mom have both children the first week of the month. Then she has the oldest child the second week, while Dad has the younger child. Then Dad has both children the third week. The fourth week, Dad has the oldest child, and Mom has the younger child. This allows both parents to have one-on-one time with each child and to have a week off.

The above are examples of options available. The options are limited only by our creativity.

Lisa Duffee practices family law as a partner with McClure Duffee & Eitzen in Dallas, Plano, and surrounding counties.

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June 26, 2006
Categories:  FAQs

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