How to Make Your Regular Custody Schedule

When populating your Custody X Change calendar, begin with your regular schedule.

Your regular schedule is the pattern your parenting time follows under ordinary circumstances. 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.

Before you choose a regular 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.

Once you've decided on a regular schedule, you're ready to enter it into your calendar following the steps below. Afterward, add seasonal schedules to your calendar.

Step 1: Select your schedule

Click on the "calendar" tab.

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

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

Beneath that, select 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 22 common custody and visitation schedules.

At the bottom of the template list, you'll see the options "daily / irregular schedules" and "start from scratch." Use these if you want to create a schedule more manually; they allow you to define how often your schedule repeats.

Step 2: Enter details of one period

Regardless of the template you select, the next box will ask you to enter the details of one regular custody/visitation period. For example, you might specify which parent has the children next weekend and what time the visit starts and ends. The app automatically fills in the rest of your template based on this example period.

Step 3: Define more time

The next box you'll see — "define more time" — allows you to add additional repeating time with either parent, such as a short midweek visit. Enter details for any visit the app didn't already input, and the calendar will set it to repeat with the rest of your schedule. To add non-repeating time, use one-time changes.

Step 4: Enter third-party time

Now, you have the option to enter third-party time, which is when the child is at school or with a caretaker besides the parents.

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.

Any time you designate as "third-party" is excluded from parenting time calculations.

Step 5: Review your schedule

Finally, it's time to review your repeating schedule. Ask yourself, "Is this roughly the schedule I had in mind?" If it just needs minor edits, click "yes, save." (You can add elements and make edits later.) If it's not what you envisioned, hit "no, start over."

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

Alternative: Work independently in the calendar

If you don't want the app to walk you through each step of creating a regular 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 24-hour 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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