Georgia Custody & Visitation Schedule Guidelines

A custody and visitation schedule (also called a parenting time schedule) explains when children will spend time with each of their parents.

A written schedule is one part of the parenting plan that parents submit in every custody case. Adding a visual custody calendar for easier comprehension is optional.

Custody X Change is software that creates Georgia custody schedules, calendars and parenting plans.

Make My Georgia Schedule Now

As with the overall parenting plan, parents can submit a schedule together, and the judge will approve, as long as it ensures the well-being of the children involved.

If parents can't agree, each turns in a proposed schedule. After a trial, the judge orders a schedule by selecting one of the proposals or combining them.

Consider your children's unique needs before mapping out a visitation schedule. For example, you can write visits with relatives or other people into your parenting plan.

Choosing a type of physical custody

Physical custody refers to whom the children live with. Begin by deciding what physical custody arrangement works best for your family, and specify this in your parenting plan.

In joint physical custody, children spend nearly equal time with each parent.

In primary physical custody, children spend most of their time with one parent.

In sole physical custody, children spend all or nearly all their time with one parent. The court reserves this for extreme circumstances, like when the other parent has severe substance abuse issues. If it's unsafe for the children to be alone with that parent, the court may also order limited visitation, which requires a supervisor to attend visits.

The court will approve any physical custody arrangement parents agree on, so long as it doesn't put the children at risk.

If parents can't agree, judges tend to assign primary physical custody. To convince a judge to award you sole physical custody against the other parent's wishes, you have to prove that the children would benefit from spending limited or no time with that parent.

Writing out the details of your physical custody arrangement

A visitation schedule explains the details of your arrangement. The schedule should specify:

  • If/when parents will spend time with the children on weekdays
  • If/when parents will spend time with the children on weekends
  • If/when parents will spend time with the children during school breaks
  • If/when parents will spend time with the children on holidays and special occasions
  • If/when parents can take the children on vacation

It's important to note clearly which schedules take precedence over others. For example, holiday schedules should take priority over the regular schedule. That means that if you're assigned Labor Day, you get that day with the kids regardless of whom they usually spend Mondays with.

A few more tips for writing your schedule:

  • Use language that is specific, yet applicable to any year.
  • "Dad shall have the children from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. central time on Thanksgiving Day during even-numbered years."

  • Allow flexibility in unexpected situations.
  • "The children shall visit Mom on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. central time, unless circumstances necessitate otherwise."

  • Be specific about how you'll handle missed visits.
  • "If Mom or Dad cannot make a visit, they shall notify the other parent at least one hour prior to the scheduled visit. Mom and Dad will then agree on a new day and time for the visit to occur."

Check if your superior court has any additional rules your visitation plan should follow.

Common visitation schedules

Georgia gives parents the freedom to create a schedule that suits their family. You can create one from scratch or look at popular parenting schedules for ideas.

Primary physical custody schedules

Below are some ideas for primary physical custody arrangements during a regular week. (The schedule often changes during summer break, when the secondary parent usually takes the kids for four to six consecutive weeks.)

Among parents who split parenting time 60/40, the every extended weekend schedule is popular. It has children spend weekdays with the primary parent and a long weekend with the secondary parent.

Another option for a 60/40 division of parenting time is the 4-3 schedule, where children spend four days a week with the primary parent and three days with the secondary parent.

And many parents who split custody time 70/30 use the every weekend schedule, in which the children get two days with the secondary parent every weekend.

Joint physical custody schedules

The following are popular schedules for equal time with both parents.

The 2-2-5-5 schedule has children live with one parent for two days, spend the next two days with the other parent, followed by five days with the first parent, and five days with the second parent.

In the 2-2-3 schedule, children live with one parent for two days, spend the next two days with the other parent, and then return to the first parent for three days. The starting parent switches each week.

And the alternating weeks schedule has your children spend one week with each parent.

Age-based considerations

Custody and visitation schedules should take into account the children's ages. Each child within a family could have a different schedule to suit their needs.

Younger children need frequent, consistent contact with both parents to establish relationships and limit anxiety. Older children can spend more time apart from parents to account for their social lives and extracurricular activities.

Georgia parenting plans require a stipulation stating that parents will work together to modify the plan as their children grow.

Visualizing your schedule

If you're like most parents, a custody and parenting time schedule makes zero sense until you see it on a calendar.

Unfortunately, turning legal wording into day planner entries can be overwhelming. Let the Custody X Change app create a customizable calendar you can understand at a glance, all based on your written schedule.

You can also use Custody X Change before you have a written schedule; start by adding days and times to the calendar, then watch as the app generates a written description.

This description is what the court will enforce if it orders your schedule, so take advantage of Custody X Change to ensure the language meets legal requirements.

Custody X Change is software that creates Georgia custody schedules, calendars and parenting plans.

Make My Georgia Schedule Now

Custody X Change is software that creates Georgia custody schedules, calendars and parenting plans.

Make My Schedule