Filed in Child Custody, Divorce, on October 19, 2022
Many clients insist upon having a 50/50 parenting time schedule for different reasons. Some just want more time with their child. Others want a break on child support. Some want it for both reasons. But before you become intrenched in your bargaining position, think about how this kind of a schedule works for you and how it works for your child. Remember, the court has to find that a 50/50 parenting schedule is in the best interest of the child. Some of the things a court will consider are:
1. Do the parents communicate effectively and civilly? If you don’t, it is less likely a court will order a 50/50 schedule.
2. How far apart do the parents live from one another? The closer you live to one another, the easier a 50/50 schedule works.
3. What is the child’s activity/extra curricular schedule? If one parent cannot get the child to his or her activities on time and consistently, a 50/50 schedule may not work.
4. What does child care look like? If one parent has the child in daycare for most of his or her time, a 50/50 schedule does not make sense.
5. Does or will the child respond well to a 50/50 schedule? If the child has difficulty with the transition, the court will be less likely to
order a 50/50 schedule, especially if the transition occurs during the week while the child is in school.
If you are the parent seeking a 50/50 schedule, and a guardian ad litem has been appointed to your case, find out what you need to do to get him or her to recommend a 50/50 schedule. Follow those recommendations, and make sure the court knows that you have made changes in your life or work schedule to accommodate a 50/50 schedule.
It is important to remember that a parenting plan is not designed for your needs; it is designed to focus on the child’s needs with consideration as to what the parents can deliver in relation to meeting the child’s needs. If your end goal in requesting 50/50 parenting time is simply to get a break on child support (and you admit this to the court), the court is unlikely to order a 50/50 schedule. If your end goal is to “stick it to the other parent,” the court will likely catch on and may find that you have an unwillingness to facilitate a relationship between the other parent and your child, and therefore give you less parenting time. If your end goal is to maximize the time both parents spend with the child and your work schedule is flexible enough to accommodate a 50/50 schedule, the court will be more likely to grant a 50/50 schedule.