3 Factors that Can Impact Parenting Time Calculations

Your Custody X Change parenting time report can help you negotiate with the other parent, file a settlement, present evidence in court and — in many U.S. states — calculate child support.

Given the importance of these tasks, it's crucial the data meets your needs.

To adjust the figures in the report, one option is to make changes to your custody schedules. (Keep in mind that to deviate from a court-ordered schedule, you need permission from the other parent or a judge.)

But often you can shift your parenting time numbers without altering your custody schedules, based on how you calculate. See three factors that impact parenting time calculations below.

Third-party time

There are likely times when your child isn't with either parent. Marking these periods as third-party time on your custody calendar excludes them from parenting time calculations.

Parents most often use the third-party label for periods when the child is at school or daycare. But you can use it whenever the child isn't spending time with a parent: during summer camp, visits with grandparents, even sleeping hours each night.

Say you have custody Monday morning to Friday evening each week, and your child is in daycare much of that time (weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m). If you mark the daycare hours as third-party time, you have less than half of parenting time most months. If you don't, your parenting timeshare is about 60 percent.

Using the third-party label can more accurately reflect the time your child spends in each parent's presence.

Date ranges

Parenting time can change from month to month and year to year based on holidays, school calendars, when weekends fall and more.

At the top left of your parenting time report, adjust your date range to see how it affects your data.

You may want to calculate for the next 12 months, the next 24 months, the current calendar year or some other time frame. Each range can have slightly different results, so experiment and see what works best.

Time versus overnights

There are two common measures of parenting time: total time and overnight visits. Some courts prefer one method over the other. (A few places, like Arizona and Santa Clara County, California, use other calculations.)

Total time adds up the hours and minutes when a child is in a parent's care. Overnight visits are when the child spends a full night in a parent's care.

The parenting time preview in your calendar center can show either measurement. Choose in your account settings.

Your Custody X Change report includes both measurements.

If one parent's visits with the child fall mostly during the day, the two measurements can get very different results.

Imagine you see your child from 3 to 8 p.m. each weekday, and the other parent has custody the remainder of the time. In a typical month, you'll receive about 15 percent of total parenting time, but 0 percent of overnight visits.

If your court doesn't specify which of the two calculations it prefers, look at both to see which more accurately reflects your parenting time.

Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

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