Making a Parenting and Visitation Schedule

Residential or school schedule

The residential or school schedule is the regular schedule of when each parent has parenting time with their child. This is also called the repeating cycle of custody and visitation or the basic cycle.

A joint physical custody arrangement, or shared custody, gives both parents significant and frequent time with the child.

A sole physical custody arrangement has the child living primarily with one parent and visiting the other parent.

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50/50 schedules are joint parenting time schedules that divide the child's time equally between both parents and allow the child to be consistently cared for by both parents.

60/40 schedules give one parent 60% of the time with the child and the other parent 40%. These schedules are used with shared custody because both parents have significant time with the children.

70/30 schedules give one parent 70% of the time with the child and the other parent 30%. These schedules allow a child to have a home base with one parent but still spend time with the other parent.

80/20 schedules are usually sole custody schedules where the child lives with one parent 80% of the time and visits the other parent 20% of the time.

Summer break schedule

A summer break schedule is when you have a different residential schedule during part of the year. Usually, parents adopt a different residential schedule when their child is out of school for summer break or for other longer breaks during the year.

To make this schedule, you come up with a new residential schedule that applies for a certain amount of time. You then decide on the start and end dates for the different schedule and the schedule changes during that time.


You can schedule specific dates in your schedule for each parent to take the child on vacation, or you can have unspecified vacations. Unspecified vacations are when each parent is allowed to take the children for so many days during the year when they give notice to the other parent.

Some examples of unspecified vacations are: "each parent may take a vacation with the children up to five days, twice per year" or "each parent may take a vacation with the children up to two weeks".

Holiday and special occasion schedule

The holiday schedule shows where the children spend holidays and special occasions.

The holiday schedule has priority over the residential schedule. This means that if a parent usually has the child for a weekend, but the weekend is a holiday and the other parent is scheduled for that holiday, the parent scheduled for holiday time has the child.

Considerations when making your parenting time schedule

Here are some things to consider when making your custody or parenting time schedule:

  • Your parenting time schedule must comply with your state custody guidelines or the court will not accept it.
  • Your schedule is part of your parenting plan and your plan must describe your schedule in legal terms.
  • Certain types of schedules work better for different children's ages.
  • Your parenting time schedule should fulfill the physical, emotional, and social needs of your child.
  • If you have multiple children, you can have a split custody arrangement where each parent has custody of different children.
  • If one or both parents is in the military, you will want to include provisions in your plan about the schedule.
  • When parents live in different states, one state has jurisdiction over your custody proceedings and you should follow the laws of that state.
  • Parents who live a long distance from each other can set up a schedule with less exchanges to accommodate the travel distance.
  • When you and your child's other parent first separate you can make a temporary schedule until you have a permanent custody arrangement.
  • You can modify your schedule any time if you and the other parent agree to the changes. If you don't agree, you will have to go to court to have the schedule modified.
  • You can include schedule provisions and rules to help your parenting time schedule run more smoothly.

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Custody X Change is software that creates professional custody schedules and parenting plans.

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