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Weekly Custody Schedule: The alternating weekend custody schedule, suggested by judges and custody lawyers, is enjoying success.

Like any other profession custody and divorce lawyers are subject in varying degrees to “fashion.”  No, I don’t mean how high anyone’ wears a skirt or whether  leisure suits are back in style.  I mean legal fashion or legal policies.  There was a time when we adhered to the “tender years” policy favoring mothers for custody of children under 5 years of age.  Times change, and it’s just not what we do anymore.

At the moment, Frederick Maryland divorce and custody lawyers are crafting a visitation schedule which has been called “the two three split,” the “five two split”  and other names.  In fact, it is something of an inside joke that lawyers apply this new solution to an old problem but don’t even agree on what to call it.  When you describe what it is instead of giving it a catchy name it goes as follows:

  1. Each visitation week begins and ends on monday morning.
  2. On the first two weekdays (monday and tuesday) one parent always gets those  days. We can call him/her the “monday-tuesday parent.”
  3. On wednesday morning the parent who had monday and tuesday turns the child(ren) over to the other parent.  The receiving parent keeps the child(ren) on wednesday and thursday, hence we can call him/her the “wednesday-thursday” parent.
  4. On friday morning the wednesday-thursday parent returns the child(ren) to the other parent through monday morning in alternating weeks and keeps the children through monday morning every other week.

For example, if we defined the monday-tuesday parent as dad and the wednesday-thursday  parent as mom it might proceed as follows:  Having spent the weekend with the child(ren) mom returns them to school on monday morning.

After school dad picks them up on monday evening, keeps them overnight, and takes them to school tuesday and wednesday.  After school wednesday mom picks them up, keeps them overnight through thursday and returns them to school on friday morning.

After school friday dad picks them up and keeps them through wednesday morning.  Mom picks them up after school wednesday. In that week mom would then keep the child(ren) through monday return to school and the cycle begins again . Obviously, this schedule presumes that the parents can cooperate and maintain a spirit of quid pro quo.    It also presumes geographic proximity to the same school or daycare. 

If the children are school age, the specific times of the summer mornings and evenings would have to be determined.  There are also many other items which might affect how appropriate this schedule might be.

I worked on a case where the parents both resided in Frederick County.  Mother lived in Adamstown and father lived in Ballenger Creek.  They actually moved to be close to each other to enjoy the alternating weekend joint physical schedule as described.

Timothy Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place

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