Divorced parents with Joint Custody - What's your schedule like?

If you’re a divorced parent with joint custody of your child or children with your former spouse, what kind of schedule do you keep and how old are the children?

Is it a couple days here and a couple of days there, or maybe a week here and a week there?

I need examples. Thanks.

I am not a divorced parent with children but I have a friend in that position who, with his ex, has come up with an interesting solution.

Each parent has the child for three days. This cycles round weekends, Christmas, birthdays, etc, in a fair and predictable manner. Long holidays (i.e. over three days) are negotiated. The system seems to work well enough and their son appears to have no problems with it.

He and his ex live close enough to make it work, which is obviously the key requirement.

I have Lilly, Queen of the Universe, for either Tuesday and Wednesday, or Wednesday and Thursday of each week, plus alternatiing weekends. We also alternate holidays and birthdays. I also have her for a week in the summer.

My ex works second shift and I work first (I’m lucky to have a four day work week, too.) Our boys, ages 9 and 6, see their dad everyday–we live only a couple of miles away from him. I drop them off with dad in the a.m. and he gets them to school, they’re with a sitter (who lives right next door to dad) for a couple of hours in the afternoon until I pick them up after work. Because I always have Fridays off, I pick them up from school. We’ve kept weekends flexible depending on schedules and they spend time with me and time with their dad. It’s a very relaxed schedule and it seems to work pretty well for us.

I have one son who was 4 in May. His father and I have been separated and/or divorced since he was 18 months old. We share custody - every other week - and as we live so close to each other it works out for school and other events.

I think that the only reason that we were able to do things this way was when we were getting separated, we really sat down and talked about how to make life as normal for our son as possible, and committed to him and to each other that we would always put him before all else - even when we hated each others guts (and believe me, those times were frequent at first).

The secondary blessing that we have received from this situation is that it really allowed us to be friends and co-parents. We had to learn how to trust each other again, how to communicate, and how to break the habits that 8 years of relationship had formed - essentially to relate to each other on completely different levels. Our son now has parents who see each other a couple times a week, who clearly get along, who back each other up when decisions are made, and who let him know at every opportunity that not only does ONE of us love him, but both of us.

I am an extremely fortunate woman.

My experience coincides with that of AnnaLucretia, except that I was the child in the situation. My parents lived four blocks from one another, and actually I was the one who decided the schedule. I lived with each of them a week, changing fridays. That way if I wanted to go off with friends for the weekend, I wouldn’t feel bad about taking away my dad’s only time.

They were very concerned about my reaction to it, so they sat down and figured everything out, and they made it a written part of their divorce that they wouldn’t badmouth the other in any way. We’ve all gone to important fuctions together and they’re always civil, though they don’t enjoy being together. So it all worked out for the best, but I don’t know if it would work for people living farther apart.

MT–with Mom;
WTh–with Dad (that’s me);
weekends alternate between us.
Each ‘day’ begins at 9am, which is after they’re in school (unless they’re sick), and continues through that night.

Except for exceptions, which occur with some frequency: birthdays, holidays, work-related meetings, etc.

This has worked out pretty well so far and seems equitable to both of us. The main challenge is that I live almost an hour away, so driving them in to school early in the mornings, driving back to work, then leaving work early to pick them up from school makes for an abbreviated work day and lots of windshield time.

We live near each other and are on amicable terms. Our 13-year-old lives with me. Every Saturday afternoon my ex picks him up, and they’re together until Sunday dinnertime. Also occasionally during the week they spend a few hours together. Once in a while the 13-year-old spends some vacation time with one or the other of us.

My parents lived a few blocks from each other until I was halfway through high school, when Dad moved to NY and things got more complicated.

My sister and I had dinner with Dad one evening during the week, and spent alternate weekends with him. (Both of us went to his place together every second weekend; it’s not like she was there one weekend and I was the next.) Holidays alternated from year to year, with exceptions if, say, one side of the extended family was going to get together in a given year. All in all, it was the one aspect of my parents’ divorce that worked out pretty well.

The keys are communication and flexibility. Don’t put the kids in the middle! And if one parent has a business trip or something, be reasonable. Back each other up on discipline and other parenting issues. And as on the SDMB, don’t be a jerk.

Our son is 4. We have a two-week rotation that goes like this:

He stays with
Mon   Tues    Wed   Thurs   Fri   Sat   Sun
Me     Me       Her     Her      Me  Me    Me
Her    Her      Me      Me       Her Her   Her

wash and repeat

Variations are negotiatied on a case-by-case basis. For instance, his best friend’s birthday is coming up. The best friend’s parents are my buddies so even though it would normally be her weekend, I’ll have him two in a row so I can take him to the (out-of-town) party.

ratatoskk - That doesn’t sound like Joint to me. Seems to me your son gets to spend 1 day out of 7 with his Father.

Started out to be he had her on Wednesday and every other weekend. We negotiated holidays even though it was written in the divorce papers who got her on even and odd years and stuff. It just worked out better for us to work it out. (we get along fine and there’s no animosity)

Wednesdays got to be too much for daddy so he stopped coming on Wednesdays and now only sees her every other weekend. That was his choice. He lives in a nearby city but works just a mile or so from where I live so he could see her as often as he likes.

I’m thinking now that she’s almost driving age she’ll be spending more time with him since there won’t be a transportation issue.

I have a friend who was doing every other day with her ex. The daughter hated it. Monday mommy, tuesday daddy, wednesday mommy, thursday daddy, friday - sunday alternated parents. Now they’ve gone to 1 week at mommy’s and the next at daddy’s. That seems to be working better for the daughter but mommy still wants her more often than that.

Good luck whatever you work out.

omnipresent – It’s legalese: “custodial parent”, “physical custody”, “legal custody”, etc. They see each other more frequently than 1/7, the 1/7 is definite and the additional time is flexible.

I’m not in that situation, either as a parent or a child, but I saw an interesting solution on some TV newsmagazine. The custodial parents are the ones that switch houses and the kids get to stay in the same place all the time. It worked well, especially because the dad was a firefighter and slept at the fire house when he wasn’t at his home. It seems unfair to me that the kids are the ones that have to pack up their favorite stuff and move every few days. Yeah, it’s harder on the parents, but they’re the ones who should have to make the sacrifice for the well-being of the kids, not the other way around.


Well, St, I don’t think my ex-wife’s girlfriend will let me stay at her house when we alternate days with our son.

Yeah, Homebrew - I think the ex-wife int he story went to her boyfriend’s place. They split the mortgage on the house.


Sorry, rata…, I guess I was referring to parents who split the time with their children on a 50/50 basis. I interested to know how vairous people do it. Whether it’s an every other day thing, every two day, etc, everyother week? That sort of thing.

I do realize that one parent can be granted sole custody of children but, the parents then split the time evenly. Just wondering how people are doing it is all.

OK, that’s cool, I wasn’t sure whether you were asking the question from a legal point of view (i.e. how do you write it into a separation agreement based on various kinds of custody) or were just seeking advice, etc.

OK, that’s cool, I wasn’t sure whether you were asking the question from a legal point of view (i.e. how do you write it into a separation agreement based on various kinds of custody) or were just seeking practical advice, etc.

For the past 5 years the 3 little Clems bounce back and forth between Mom and Dad. Fortunately, Mom and Dad don’t hate each other and live a block apart. This was deliberate to facilitate kids 4,8,11, at the time having it easy getting back and forth. It’s been a blessing most of time.

After experimenting the first six months, we thought that they would do best with being with one parent for 3-4 days, then with the other parent for an equal time. Indeed, I heartily suggest that this works the best. Back and forth, day by day, doesn’t work.

We’re lucky. Both parents are flexible. You do what’s best for the kids. I take off to be with a sick kid as much as she does. Of course, your jobs may be the important factor here.

My impression, from talking to the kids is, after the first year, they adjust. It probably depends on how they perceive the relationship between the parents. Of course, not all kids at all ages will be the same.