Parenting Time Schedules in Iowa (Visitation Schedules)

Parenting time schedules tell parents when their child should be in their care. A schedule is one part of your parenting plan.

Parents can agree to a schedule or let the judge choose one. You'll have a temporary schedule during your case and get a permanent schedule with your final decree.

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Common parenting time schedules

Before you choose a schedule, decide whether you prefer shared physical care or primary physical care.

Many parents share physical care, meaning they spend close to equal time with their child.

If one parent will be the primary physical caretaker, the other generally gets visitation rights. Safeguards like supervised visitation may be put in place to protect the child.

It's most important that your schedule meets your child's needs.

Shared physical care

Older children can spend more time away from their parents. Schedules with weekly rotations, like the alternating weeks schedule, work for these kids.

Younger children need to see parents more often to maintain familiarity and routine. These children benefit from seeing both parents every week. The 2-2-5-5 schedule is a popular choice.

Primary physical care

The standard visitation arrangement is every other weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening, plus a three to four-hour visit on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Some judges make the weekday visit an overnight if the parent can get the child to school.

Anything beyond this baseline is considered "extraordinary visitation" — for example, the every weekend schedule.

For long distance, you can schedule visits over school breaks and whenever the noncustodial parent can travel to the children.

School and extracurriculars

Plan around your child's school and extracurricular schedules. You may even include your child's school time in your schedule. This allows you to calculate how much time each parent gets with the child outside of school hours.

In the Custody X Change online app, you can also create an activities calendar that shows whose parenting time an activity falls during.

Holidays and vacations

Including holidays and vacations in your schedule gives you a more complete picture of your parenting time arrangement.

You may designate certain holidays to the same parent every year. This is common for Mother's Day and Father's Day.

To simplify scheduling vacations, align them with your child's school breaks. You may give a holiday to one parent, and the rest of the child's break to the other for a trip.

You can write in your parenting plan how much vacation time each parent will get with the child per year and when vacations will be allowed.


It's a good idea to detail how you will handle custody exchanges in your parenting plan. An exchange occurs when the child goes from one parent's care to another.

State where the exchanges will happen, whether you will allow third parties (proxies) to pick up the child and whether supervised exchanges are necessary.

The easiest way to make a schedule

If you're like most parents, creating a custody and visitation schedule will feel daunting. How do you write something that meets legal requirements and doesn't leave any loose ends?

The Custody X Change app makes it easy. Either customize a schedule template, or click and drag in your custody calendar to make a schedule from scratch.

Then watch a full description appear in your custom 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

Explore common schedules

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