In Colorado plans are not always 50/50, they vary on each circumstance. In negotiation of a parenting plan the attorney, the parents, the court, they’re all part of the process through negotiation, mediation, and sometimes litigation.
Usually the parents agree on some things but not others. I put the agreements in writing and I try to reach agreement or compromise on the rest of the issues. If parents can’t agree on other issues or on any issues then we go to court and we will argue our position. At that point the court will decide the disputed issue.
If you assume two healthy parents who live within 30 minutes of the children’s school and also assume that children are not too young, namely 5 years or older, then it is likely the children will spend time with both parents. While there are many reasons that the time spent might not be 50/50, for example work requirements, agreement of the parties, age of the children, whether or not the children have attached to a parent in a certain way. Parenting plans with two healthy parents are often 50/50 plans.
There are several ways to form a 50/50 plan. Any of the plans can be tailored to unique situations and still be 50/50 a plan. Generally the three most common are a 5-2-2-5 plan, a 3-4-4-3 plan, and the week-on, week-off plan.
In a 5-2-2-5 one parent has every Monday and Tuesday, including the overnight and the other parent has every Wednesday and Thursday including the overnight. Then the parents alternate the weekends. Weekends are defined as Fridays, Saturday and Sunday overnight. In the 3-4-3 plans there are no set days allocated to one parent or another, one parent has three overnights, the other parent has four overnights, the other parent has four overnights, and the other parent has three overnights. In the week-on and week-off, the parents will literally alternate every other week throughout the year.
I have found that courts generally prefer the 5-2-2-5 plan for several reasons. First in a 5-2-2-5, the child has a set schedule each week such that he or she knows what books, activity stuff to bring to each parent’s house. Second the 5-2-2-5 usually has the parent, whose parenting time is ending, drop off the kids at school and the parent whose parenting time is beginning picking up the kids after school. This minimizes transitions for the child. It also decreases the amount of time that parties see one another in a given week.
Another reason the courts like a 5-2-2-5 is that it allows the child to have frequent contact with both parents. Also the alternating weekends give each parent a weekend off every other week. Spouses that still live together but have separated to have decided to divorce have the same process of negotiating a parenting plan as parties who no longer live together.
Kate Miller is a Denver, Colorado attorney focused exclusively on the practices of divorce and family law. She has lived many of the issues regarding divorce and child custody, and is passionate about helping people through this process. To learn more about Kate and her firm visit www.MillerFamilyLawLLC.com.