When parents get a divorce in California, the position of the state regarding child custody is that the child should spend a substantial amount of time with each parent provided that is in the best interests of the child. Children generally adjust to a divorce better when parents share custody, and it is an arrangement that can work for most types of schedules.
Best conditions for shared custody
Shared custody works best if parents live near one another for logistical reasons although this can be overcome through scheduling and other approaches. It generally is not appropriate if there have been issues with domestic violence or child abduction. It works best when both parents want involvement in the lives of their children and can cooperate with one another.
Shared custody schedules
There are many different options for shared custody. Children might spend one or two weeks with one parent and then the same amount of time with the other parent. Another common arrangement is one in which children spend weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other. However, there are also arrangements that break up the week, such as a 2-2-3 schedule. This would mean the child spends two days with one parent, two with the other, then three with the first, and in the following week, this would switch. If there is a reason the child must spend most of the time with one parent, visits with the other parent could be supplemented with calls and text messages.
These arrangements may vary based on the child’s age. For example, young children might need more frequent contact with both parents. Older children may want to have some say about the schedule. Over time, the schedule can be adjusted based on the child’s needs and the parents’ work schedules or other commitments.