Québec Parenting Time Schedules

A parenting time schedule details when a child will be in the care of each parent after a separation or divorce.

Your schedule should cover where your child will be during normal periods, as well as when each parent will have holiday and vacation time with the child.

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Parents can agree on a schedule or have a judge decide for them after a trial. If you agree, describe your schedule in a signed parenting plan to make it binding. You can also include a visual calendar to make the schedule easier to understand.

Parents who get along very well may not need a schedule if they're willing to coordinate exchanges as they go. However, a baseline schedule helps with planning and still allows parents to make agreed-upon changes.

Parenting time impacts the amount of child support you pay or receive and the government benefits you receive on your child's behalf.

Types of parenting time

Your schedule will be based on your type of parenting time. In cases where parents aren't married to each other, the term parenting time is replaced by custody or visitation.

  • Shared parenting time / shared custody: Each parent has the child for 40 to 60 percent of the year. This is the most common arrangement.
  • Majority parenting time / sole custody: One parent has the child for more than 60 percent of the year. If the other parent has more than 20 percent of the time, that is called prolonged visiting rights. If they have 20 percent or less, that's considered visiting rights.
  • Split parenting time / split custody: Each parent has at least one of their children for more than 80 percent of the year. This arrangement usually only applies if there are significant age gaps between the children.

What to consider when choosing a schedule

Your schedule should fit your unique circumstances. Consider the following when choosing a schedule for your family:

  • The child's age and development
  • Any special needs the child has
  • The child's extracurriculars
  • How the child will travel for visits
  • How well parents cooperate
  • How far apart parents live from one another
  • Each parent's availability

Occasionally, a parenting time schedule includes periods the child will spend with a nonparent, either because parents agree to this or because the nonparent gets visiting rights via a judgment.

Shared parenting time schedules

Many shared parenting families use 50/50 schedules, though you can also use a 60/40 schedule. Here are some popular shared-parenting schedules.

2-2-5-5 schedule

With the 2-2-5-5 schedule your child lives two days with one parent, then two days with the other parent, followed by five days with the first parent, and five days with the second parent.

You can choose where in the rotation to start your schedule. For example, if you use a 5-2-2-5 variation, you start with a five-day stay instead of a two-day stay. In the end, the pattern is the same but falls on different days of the week than a 2-2-5-5 approach.

2-2-3 schedule

The 2-2-3 schedule has your child stay with one parent for two days, the other parent for the next two days, then the first parent for three days.

Then the pattern begins again, with the opposite parent starting.

Alternating weeks schedule

The alternating weeks schedule has the child live with one parent for a week and then the other the next week.

Majority parenting time schedules

Most families with a majority parenting time arrangement follow an 80/20, 70/30 or 60/40 schedule. Here are popular options.

Every other weekend schedule

The every other weekend schedule (also called the alternative weekends schedule) has the child spend every other weekend with the noncustodial parent.

Evening visits during the week

Another option is to allow the noncustodial parent to have a few evening visits each week. You could include a weekly overnight visit.

Holidays and vacations

Parents often overlook holidays and vacations when creating a schedule. Include this time in your schedule to avoid confusion and tension.

There are many ways to divide holidays. A common arrangement is to switch between parents every other year. For example, if Mom has the kids on National Patriots' Day this year, Dad will have the holiday next year.

Long holiday periods like summer and winter break are generally split in half or given to the parent who spends less time with the child overall. However, parents can agree on a different setup.

You'll also want to address vacations. Your parenting plan could set dates for a parent to take the child on vacation or simply allow each parent a certain number of vacation days with the child in a year.

The easiest way to make a schedule

If you're like most parents, creating a parenting time schedule will feel daunting. How do you address holidays, school breaks and birthdays while ensuring the schedule will work in the years to come?

The Custody X Change app makes it easy. First, click and drag in your colour-coded calendar.

Then watch as your choices automatically apply to future years and a full description appears in your parenting plan.

The combination of a visual and written schedule means your family will have no problem knowing who has the child when. Take advantage of Custody X Change to make your schedule as clear and thorough as can be.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Explore examples of common schedules

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