How close or far apart you live from your co-parent will determine what parenting plan options make sense in your situation. If parents live close to one another, then they are in a position to exchange their kids more often, whereas for parents that live farther apart it only makes sense for them to exchange their children on a less frequent basis.
Figuring out a child-sharing schedule can be challenging as it forces parents to work together, communicate and determine what will work best for their kids.
For parents that live near one another, there are several “short distance” parenting plan options. For example, parents can exchange their kids on an every other week basis. Or parents can following a 5-2-2 plan where the kids are with one parent every week on Monday and Tuesday nights and with the other parent every week on Wednesday and Thursday nights and then the parents alternate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights on an every other week basis. Other parents follow an every other weekend schedule with extended parenting time during school breaks and holidays.
For parents that live farther apart, it is not feasible to exchange the children as frequently as parents that live closer together. As a result, long distance parenting plans often entail parenting time one to two weekends per month with extended parenting time during the school breaks and holidays. If, however, the parents live a significant distance apart, to where a plane flight is involved, then there may not be monthly parenting time but only longer periods of parenting time during the holidays and school breaks.
Overall, parents are expected to work together to find a child-sharing schedule in the best interests of their children. If parents cannot agree then a judge can decide the schedule for them, however, in general parents are happier with the outcome when they reach an agreement rather than having a judge tell them what the schedule will be.
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Julie LaBenz has been licensed to practice law in Arizona since 2006. Julie seeks to simplify common legal processes and problems that parents often face by providing packages of legal services and information for a set, affordable price.