Children’s Issues

Is 50/50 the best way to divide the time my ex and I have with our children? What are some of the common visitation arrangements for children?

In years past, typically mothers would have primary residential custody of children. Fathers would see the children every other weekend and probably one time during the week. In years past, however, fathers were also typically the primary breadwinners. Mothers did not typically work, and fathers did not participate in the day to day responsibilities of child rearing.

Today, both parties often work outside their home. Also, now, fathers feed, bathe and care for the children, take them to child care, pediatrician, activities, etc. They are often full participants in the child rearing responsibilities. So when a divorce, unfortunately, occurs, in order to maintain the status quo as much as possible for the children, both parents often share custody. It should be noted that in New Jersey when the parent of alternate residence has 28% or more of the time (two overnights or more per week), it is called shared parenting. The parties must be realistic to determine if based on work schedules and children’s schedules, if a shared parenting arrangement makes sense. It should not be a financial or control tactic.

It is extremely important that the parties remain civil and cooperative regarding the children. Otherwise, there will be incidents and /or discomfort every time there is a change in parenting. This can occur a few times a week in a fully shared parenting arrangement. It is also best in a 50/50 case if the parents live close to one another to eliminate unnecessary travel and stress.

Most psychologists today believe that it is best for the children to see both parents notwithstanding the moving back and forth. Remember, however, moving back and forth can be troublesome for anyone. A typical 50/50 schedule might be Mom: Monday, Tuesday; Dad: Wednesday, Thursday and alternate each weekend Friday through Sunday, so each parent has five days with the children. Some parties choose instead to alternate weeks.

Other parties with more money move in and out of 2 homes so the children do not have to move at all. Age of the children and bonding plays a big part in the pattern that is chosen.

As always, it is best if the parties to work together for the very best interest of the children. They are innocent bystanders in the divorce.