You and your soon-to-be-ex have agreed to share custody of your children equally. The next thing to do is put a parenting schedule in place. Your kids need that so they can regain some predictability in their lives. It’s also important for your own schedule to know when you’ll have the kids, when they’ll be with your co-parent and when you’ll be picking them up or dropping them off.
The two most common parenting schedules for 50-50 custody are biweekly and 2-2-3. Which one of these you choose or whether you and your co-parent create your own unique routine will depend on multiple factors, including your kids’ ages, their extracurricular activities and how far apart your two homes are.
With this schedule, kids alternate spending an entire week with each parent. You can do the exchanges on whatever day works best based on everyone’s schedule. This routine lets parents spend a good deal of uninterrupted time with their kids. It also means less packing up for kids and less transportation time for parents.
It may not be the best choice for younger kids who have a difficult time being away from one parent (unless you plan a visit or overnight stay with the other parent mid-visit). It also may not be a wise choice for people who aren’t yet comfortable being single parents for extended periods.
With this routine, one parent takes the kids for two days (say Monday and Tuesday), then they go to the other parent for a couple of days (Wednesday and Thursday), and finally, they get the rest of the week back with the first parent. This keeps alternating, so each parent gets the three-day stretch of time with the kids every other week.
This routine works best if parents live close. It also may be best for kids still getting used to being away from either parent for long. However, it may not be best for kids who have a hard time transitioning between homes (emotionally or just practically).
Your Rhode Island family law attorney can provide guidance on the pros and cons of these routines and others given the unique make-up and needs of your family. Remember that any routine you choose will likely evolve as your kids get older and their needs and schedules change.