When parents divorce, deciding how to arrange custody of children is often the most difficult and emotional part of the process. In many cases, both parents decide that alternating custody week after week is the best way to arrange their co-parenting plan. While this plan does give equal time to both parents, which is important for the emotional well-being of children in divorce, it does come with some serious drawbacks.
The primary concern with an alternating week schedule is that children do not get to spend time with one of their parents for whole weeks or more at a time. This can lead to a sense of detachment and even separation anxiety depending on the age of the child. Alternating weeks can also be difficult for parents who don’t have an amicable relationship. Moments when custody is exchanged or when plans shift can be tense.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to the alternating weeks schedule that allow children to see each parent more often and prevent conflicts. These plans involve switching custody every few days while providing balance in the long term. In cases where custody is not equal, having children stay with one parent during the workweek and the other during the weekend can work for some families.
When making a child custody arrangement with an ex-spouse during a divorce, it’s important for each parent to have representation from an attorney. Difficult emotions can often cloud good judgment during legal proceedings, so it’s the job of a lawyer to help their client pursue a reasonable custody arrangement while making sure their parental rights are upheld. An attorney might also help make amendments to an agreement if circumstances change.