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.

In the four steps below, the app walks you through the process of creating a schedule. If you'd rather work more independently by clicking and dragging in the calendar, skip down to the alternative option.

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. Beyond entering an end date for the first year, you can use choose start and end dates for future years (using the buttons).

Finally, select the years in which you want the schedule to be active ("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 by adding visits, changing dates and more.

The templates address the most-common parenting schedules. Each name represents a repeating pattern of days (e.g., 2-2-5-5). Next to that, you'll see the percentage of custody time that pattern gives each parent (e.g., 50/50, meaning each parent has the child 50 percent of the time).

When you choose a template, the pattern will automatically show in the calendar to help you visualize its possibilities. If nothing appears in the calendar, make sure you're looking at a month when you told the schedule to be active. (Use the arrows on either side of the month name above the calendar to change months and years.)

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 the app to help you create a different pattern.

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

Step 3: Customize your schedule

In this box, you can customize the schedule template you just selected. Your changes will appear in the calendar. (Note: Wait until you're all done customizing to click "save" — it will close the customization box.)

Your options depend on your template. For example, in the alternating weeks template, you can swap parents' weeks and change the exchange day.

In the every weekend and alternating weekend templates, you can set the weekend parent and your weekend days.

For nearly every template, you'll see the "add or extend a visit" button.

Click it to add a repeating visit. (To add a one-time visit or a holiday visit, wait until Step 4.) Choose the parent this visit belongs to, or choose 3rd party when a child isn't with either parent. Next, enter when the visit starts and ends, and set when it repeats: how often and on which days of the week.

Extending a repeating visit works the same way. Either create a visit that abuts the too-short visit, or create a longer visit right on top of the short one. For example, to give Dad an extra couple hours with the kids every other Sunday morning, he could create a two-hour visit right before his original visit's start time (9 a.m.).

Step 4: Edit and share your schedule

Once you save, you'll return to the main schedules page.

From here, you can edit your schedule or share and print your calendar.

If you know that your schedule will change in the future — perhaps when your child reaches a certain age or during summer break — 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.

To change days and times and to add visits, either click and drag in the calendar or use the options boxes (to the left of your calendar on desktop, underneath your calendar on mobile).

In the boxes, you can specify which parent gets each visit. You can even give the time to a third party if the child won't be with either parent.

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.

After saving, you can continue to edit your schedule by renaming it, choosing a new pattern, changing the start or end date, etc.

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

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