Family law courts are increasingly likely to encourage child custody arrangements that allow children to have roughly equal time with both parents. Pennsylvania parents who are trying to work out a custody schedule for their children might assume that the best choice is a schedule in which the child alternates weeks with each parent.
This can be a workable solution for older children. However, for younger children there can be drawbacks. A week can be a long time without seeing one parent, and the child may develop separation anxiety. It might also be difficult for parents to arrange child care for alternating weeks.
There are other schedules that can help ensure that parents and children never go very long without seeing one another. A 2-2-3 schedule allows the child to spend two days with one parent, two days with the other and three with the first. The following week, this switches. Another option is a 3-4-4-3 schedule. There may also be situations in which it is not practical to try to split time 50/50. Something more like 60/40 or less may work better. This can be achieved by having the child spend long weekends with one parent and weekdays with the other parent. The child could also spend just two days with one parent and five with the other.
Reaching an agreement on a child custody schedule can be one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce, but parents should try to stay focused on the best interests of the child. This is the criteria a judge would use if the parents had to go to court, but the parents may be able to negotiate an agreement with the help of their attorneys. Even if one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent could have generous visitation time.