Ask a Divorce Attorney – Parenting Plans
Child Custody Parenting Plans in California Family Law Cases
A true 50/50 child custody plan involves both parents have the same amount of time with the children. This can be accomplished in with several different schedules the most popular being the following:
- Week on week off.
- 2-2-3: Each parent has two weekdays and they alternate three day weekends. The parents would swap each week either having the kids of Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday.
- 5-2-2-5: Each parent has set weekdays of either Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday and alternate three day weekends starting each Friday.
Primary Household with Visitation
Anytime a 50/50 child custody plan is not ordered, one parent will be known as the “primary custodial parent” and the other will have “the right to visitation.” The older the child, the more likely it will be that a 50/50 plan will make sense to the court. Generally, but not always, courts will find that younger children require a “home base” whether or not both parents are equally capable of parenting the child and providing a loving and stable environment.
Graduated “Step Up” Visitation Plan
In a graduated or “step up” parenting plan, the noncustodial parent is allowed more and more time with the children on an incremental basis and generally contingent upon prerequisites being accomplished prior to each step. The prerequisite to stepped up visitation could be the child reaching a certain age, the parent exercising a certain number of visits, the parent obtaining a larger living space etc…
In some cases, due to either an adverse relationship with a child or issues with substance abuse, emotional abuse, or domestic violence, one or both parents can only visit with their children under the supervision of another adult. In these types of cases special schedules need to be set up that work for both parents, the children, and the supervisor. Cases involving supervised visitation see generally between 4 and 8 hours per week for the visits to occur with the remaining time being spent with the custodial parent. The goal is always to get the supervised parent into a place that he or she can be relieved from the requirement of supervision if at all possible.