Make a Repeating Custody Schedule: Common Patterns

Before you build a schedule, make sure you've understood the basics of custody calendars and schedules and considered the 13 factors that determine the right schedule for your family.

If your parenting time will not repeat and you and the other parent will make decisions as you go (which is rare and complicated), use one-time calendar entries instead.

Step 1: Choose a name and dates

Click on the "calendar" tab.

Then select "new schedule" to the left of your calendar (or beneath your calendar, if you're on a phone).

On the next screen, you have the option to give your schedule a name. Then, select when it should take effect. You might choose today, the first day of next month, etc. Keep in mind if you want to start on a particular day of the week.

If you’re creating a schedule that will override your regular schedule for the same period every year, check the box. This works for summer breaks, seasonal jobs and more.

Checking the box will pull up additional options. Select a radio button to choose when the schedule should take effect each year. Then use the dropdown boxes to choose when it should end this year, and the buttons below to choose when it should end in years to come.

Finally, select the years in which you want the schedule to activate ("starting in" and "through").

When you’re ready to move on, hit "next."

Step 2: Select a template

Choose the template that's closest to the schedule you had in mind. You'll be able to customize it.

Each template is listed with a name representing its pattern (e.g., 2-2-5-5), and the percentage of custody time it gives each parent (e.g., 50/50, meaning each parent has the child 50 percent of the time). For details on the various options, see common custody and visitation schedules.

At the bottom of the template list, you'll see the option "other (e.g. every 3rd week or 5th day)." Use this if you want to create another pattern manually; it follows slightly different steps to let you define how often your schedule repeats.

Once you've selected a template, hit "customize."

Step 3: Define parenting time

Regardless of the template you select, the next box will ask you to enter the details of one custody/visitation period.

For example, you might be asked to specify which parent has the children one weekend and what time the visit starts and ends. The app automatically fills in the rest of your template based on this example period.

To move on, click "add more time." If you don’t have more time to add, click "save" and skip to Step 5.

Step 4: Add more repeating time (optional)

Now you can add additional time with either parent, such as a short midweek visit. Enter details for any recurring visit the app hasn't yet input, and it will repeat with the rest of your schedule. (To add nonrepeating time, use one-time changes after you save your schedule.)

Unless you used the "X days each" template, you can also use this step to enter third-party time, which is when the child is at school or with a caretaker besides the parents. Time designated as "third-party" is excluded from parenting time calculations.

To use this option, choose "3rd party" from the dropdown menu. If your child's time with a third party is not the same every weekday, uncheck "same Monday through Friday" for day-by-day options.

When you’re done, click "add more time" and repeat the step, if you need to input additional visits. Otherwise, click "save."

Step 5: Edit and share your schedule

After saving, you'll return to the main schedules page.

From here, you can make changes to a saved schedule or share and print your calendars.

If you know that your regular schedule will change in the future — perhaps when your child reaches a certain age — you can repeat the steps above to make additional schedules and choose the date when each will take effect.

Alternative: Work independently in the calendar

If you don't want the app to walk you through each step of creating a schedule, you can work directly in the calendar.

Click roughly where you want your schedule to begin. (It must be a blank space; if you click on part of an existing schedule, you'll be editing that schedule.)

The calendar will give you a one-day visit, starting where you clicked and repeating each week. It will give the remaining time to the other parent, as a preliminary schedule for you to work from.

Click and drag to adjust days and times, and to add visits.

In the boxes to the left, you can specify which parent gets each visit. Check the "repeating" box to create a pattern, so you don't have to enter every visit manually. Uncheck that box if you want a one-time event.

When you click "save," the app will automatically give your schedule a name.

You can continue to edit your schedule by renaming, moving, shifting or deleting it.

Custody X Change is software that creates personalized custody calendars and schedules.

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