50/50 Custody Arrangements: What Does This Look Like?

If you are going through a divorce or separation involving children, one of the most prominent things on your mind will be the wellbeing of your children moving into the future.

The amount of time your children will get to spend with you and your ex-partner is important to consider. In many cases, the children having a consistent schedule and equitable contact with both parents is an excellent way to cater for their emotional wellbeing.

Many parents are able to reach an arrangement on their own using common custody arrangements to find a setup that suits both parties as well as the child. One of these common arrangements is the 50/50 custody arrangement.

As the name suggests, 50/50 custody arrangements are ones in which a child spends half their time each month with one parent and half with the other parent. Let’s dive into this arrangement here.


What You Should Consider Before Starting A 50/50 Custody Arrangement

Parents need to live close by
50/50 custody arrangements require a lot of handover times (in some cases, multiple handovers per week). To keep everyone’s stress levels down, it is helpful if you and your ex-partner live relatively close by, or at least close enough to make handovers straightforward for you and your child.

Good communication will be vital
When it’s time for a handover, you may find yourself stuck in traffic or delayed by work. It is understandable that unforeseen circumstances can arise. That is why clear communication is vital for this type of arrangement to succeed. To make a 50/50 custody arrangement work, both parents need to be able to communicate without fighting and to put any potential animosity aside for the good of the child.

Work schedules need to line up
Conflicting work schedules can often be an issue that prevents this type of arrangement from working smoothly. If you have a work schedule that does not allow you to drop the kids off at school, or pick them up each day, then a 50/50 arrangement could be difficult.

Parents need to put the wellbeing of the child first
Divorces and separations can be a messy process that conjures up a lot of negative emotions. For a 50/50 custody arrangement to work, it is vital that both parents agree to put the interests of the child first. Working towards the child’s interests will help you develop a routine that works best for the child, and provides them with the stability they need to thrive.


Common schedules used in 50/50 custody arrangements

Here are 5 arrangements that you might wish to consider for your unique situation.

1. Alternating weeks
This is the simplest arrangement of the five listed arrangements. Essentially, your children spend one week with Parent A, then the following week with Parent B. This gives both parents a chance to have a robust relationship with their children while keeping exchanges to a minimum.
Some younger kids may struggle with this schedule as it will mean extended periods without one parent. A one-week interval between seeing the other parent could be too long in this case.

2. Mid-week overnight
This schedule takes the alternating weeks arrangement and adds a midweek stay over, helping younger kids who cannot wait one week between seeing both parents. It does add additional exchanges, which may not be suitable if both parents live further away from each other. However, if your schedules allow it, this could be a great way to balance the needs of your children.

3. The 2-2-3 schedule
The 2-2-3 schedule continues the mid-week overnight arrangement by extending it to two days. This results in Parent A having the children for two days, then Parent B having the children for two days, with Parent A finishing up the week with the children for another three days. The routine then swaps the following week.

This arrangement does allow the children to get frequent interactions with both parents. However, it does come with a higher frequency of exchanges. It can also be confusing, with no immediate knowledge of which parent the child will be with on which day of the week. So, scheduling could become complicated.

4. The 3-3-4-4 schedule
The 3-3-4-4 schedule offers a higher level of consistency as to which days of the week each parent will have the children. For instance, Parent A will always have the children on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, while Parent B will always have the children on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday will continue to alternate between both parents.

5. The 2-2-5-5 schedule
This schedule mixes in the consistency of the 3-3-4-4 schedule with the mid-week time offered in the 2-2-3 schedule. For example, your children will always see Parent A on Sunday and Monday, while Parent B will always have the kids on Tuesday and Wednesday. This then offers flexibility to the parents on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Parents might also agree to move this schedule forward by a day by starting on Monday with Parent A rather than Sunday. The result is an alternating weekend arrangement between parents.


Need Help Organising 50/50 Custody Arrangements?

Once you have decided which schedule will work best, you should document it. Pullos Lawyers are here to help you formalise the agreement with either a Parenting Plan or consent agreement. It is important to then put this schedule into a shared calendar between you and your parenting partner. This schedule may need to change in future as your children grow up and their needs change, so keep communicating with your parenting partner to work out what is best for you both and your children.

To speak to one of our experienced lawyers today, please get in touch via email, or call us in our Gold Coast office on (07) 5526 3646, or in Brisbane on (07) 3144 1641.