50/50 Shared Custody: Schedules 2-2-5-5 and 3-4-4-3

The 2-2-5-5 and 3-4-4-3 schedules are very similar to each other and choosing one over the other really comes down to personal preference. I’m going to explain how each of the schedules works, the particular benefits of each, and then the things to consider when looking at both schedules.

2-2-5-5 Custody hours:

This schedule is harder to explain than most custodial schedules. I didn’t really get it at first, so in my resource area I include a link for you to see a visual example if you still have questions after reading this article.

The 2-2-5-5 schedule is easier to understand if you know that the 2-2 represents the four nights of the week. Your child will spend two nights a week with you and the additional two nights with the other parent. Then the child spends the three weekend nights with you plus the same two nights the following week. That equates to five nights. Finally, your child has the extra two nights and the three-day weekend with the other parent, which again equates to five nights. The 5-5 is calculated when you add the alternate weekend with the nights of the week already assigned.

Once you understand this schedule, it is actually one of my favorites. The reason is that both parents have established nights of the week that do not change. Also, the weekends rotate between parents. I like consistency and I think it makes things easier for parents and children. For example, if your child has a piano on Tuesday, the same parent is responsible for carrying the child around. The other parent will be responsible for making sure the child brings their homework packet to school on Friday.

3-4-4-3 Custody hours:

The 3-4-4-3 program is much easier to understand and implement. The key to understanding this schedule is knowing that the first part of the week and the last part of the week are always with the same parent. For example, the father always has the first part of the week and the mother the second part of the week.

The functioning is that the child spends the first three nights of the week with one of the parents and the last four nights with the other parent. The following week the schedule is the same, but the first parent receives four nights and the second parent receives three.

This schedule is great because it is very consistent, except for one night of the week that rotates each week. The only big downside to this schedule is the same parent who receives every weekend.

What to consider:

The two schedules above are a great way for your child to participate in the lives of both parents each week. Your child will spend time with each of you and have the opportunity to have a wonderful relationship with both parents. Ultimately, the child feels that he is an important part of both homes.

You and the other parent should feel comfortable enough with each other that you can talk frequently about what is happening in the child’s life. If the school informs you on Tuesday that there will be a pajama day on Friday, you will need to inform the other parent or your child will feel very left out. Make sure that you and the other parent are ready for this type of relationship where you leave behind and work together for the benefit of your child.

The biggest drawback to these schedules is the amount of time your child comes and goes. You and the other parent will need to live close to each other and the child’s school. You also need to make sure your child can handle coming and going. For some children, this causes a great deal of anxiety and stress. They don’t feel like they have been in either home long enough to be more than just a visitor. You need to make sure you know your child’s personality and choose the best possible time for him.

You can make it work:

I firmly believe that you can make almost anything work. Trying to do what is best for your child is a difficult process. Remember, your child will be looking at you for guidance and help. They don’t know how to react. If you are always negative about the situation, they will be too. However, if you have a positive attitude and let your child know that you love him and it takes time to ensure that the best for him is chosen, you will feel comforted during this transition. Good luck!

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