More and more people are moving towards more of a 50/50 custody schedule. There is no specific provision that entitles parties to 50/50 possession in Texas as of now, but with the introduction of a bill last legislative session that would have made 50/50 possession a requirement in most cases (see this news story for more information) and with more states moving towards 50/50 possession as their default, it’s no wonder that people have questions about how it works. This blog post is going to attempt to cover some of the most frequently seen 50/50 custody schedules and discuss some pros and cons of each one.
50/50 Custody, equal possession, or whatever else you may have heard it called can mean a lot of different things in Texas. The Texas Family Code does not provide any set 50/50 schedule and it is not presumed to be best for a child. In fact, many judges are hesitant to set a 50/50 possession schedule because it can be a less stable situation for a child and can make things complicated. For more information on this see our previous post: here. Additionally, many people have a misconception that 50/50 custody will mean $0 child support and that is not usually the case. For more information on this misconception see our previous post: here.
Every Other Week
One of the most intuitive 50/50 schedules is a straight forward Sunday through Sunday one week on and one week off schedule. This may seem like the easiest way to have equal time with your child and it is certainly one of the simplest possession schedules to understand. One problem with this type of schedule is that it can cause the child to have a long commute to school or daycare every other week. It also can make things difficult when it comes to one parent wanting a child to be in extra-curricular activities if the other parent is not willing to cooperate with getting the child to their practices or performances/games. Also, having more continuous contact with your child is one of the reasons many people want a 50/50 schedule and having an entire week away from your child every other week isn’t necessarily the best way to do that.
One positive aspect of every other week visitation is that there is only one exchange that has to take place per week, this may work well for people who don’t live close to each other and whose children are not in school. It could also reduce conflict associated with drop-off and pick-up if there is only one day a week that the parties have to meet up or if the drop off and pick up date is on a school day instead of Sunday and the parties can do the exchange at the school and never have to see each other during the school year.
Thursday through Sunday
Another way to make possession more equal is to have the exchange of the child on Thursday and Sunday every week. For example, this can look like one parent picking the child up on Thursday after school each week and dropping them back off at the parent who is closer to their school’s house on Sunday evening. This can be better as far as reducing the child’s commute to school if they are spending the majority of the school week with the parent that is closer to the school, but this can also create problems with one parent being forced to spend the more serious and structured week days that are filled with work and school with the child and not getting the opportunity to spend more time on the weekends with the child. To prevent the weekend problem some parents choose to alternate who has the weekend and who has the weekdays, but this can cause some problems with a child creating a routine and knowing whose house they are supposed to go to.
In the 2-2-3 schedule, the child stays with one parent for 2 days of the week, the next 2 days with the other parent, and then 3 days with the first parent. The next week it switches. This is probably one of the more difficult schedules to actually carry out because it involves a lot of exchanges and changes in the child’s routine. It also happens to be one of the best ways to guarantee that parents are getting exactly equal possession. If two people live close together and are great at co-parenting a 2-2-3 might be a great option, but if parties can’t agree to be flexible with drop-off and pick-up or agree to stick to a routine, this possession schedule could be a nightmare.
If you have any questions regarding a visitation schedule for your child please contact Guest and Gray and we can schedule a time to discuss your issues and let you know what your options are.