Maryland Child Access and Visitation Schedules

Your access or visitation schedule determines where your child lives and how much time they spend with each parent. It's part of your required parenting plan.

When parents share physical custody, they have an access schedule. If one parent does not have physical custody, they have a visitation schedule.

A written schedule is required for all custody cases, though you can add a visual calendar for clarity.

If you're settling, create a schedule with the other parent. Otherwise, each of you should draft one independently, and the judge will select one or combine them when deciding the final order at trial.

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Types of schedules

A flexible schedule states the parenting time arrangement generally, allowing parents to make adjustments — big or small — as long as they both agree. Only parents who reach a settlement and get along remarkably well should go this route.

A fixed schedule specifies exactly when the child will be with each parent. Parents can agree to minor adjustments but must ask the court to modify the schedule in any significant way. Even parents who are on amicable terms commonly use a fixed schedule to avoid any confusion or disagreements.

Some fixed schedules require supervised visitation, where the noncustodial parent's time with the child is monitored by a third party, often at a supervised visitation center. Supervision is most common when the noncustodial parent has a history of abuse or addiction.

In extreme cases where the court is concerned for a child's well-being, it may eliminate visits with one parent altogether.

Showing the details of your schedule

Your access or visitation schedule must specify:

  • If/how parents will split time with the child on weekdays
  • If/how parents will split time with the child on weekends
  • If/how parents will split time with the child during school breaks
  • If/how parents will split time with the child on holidays and special occasions
  • If/when each parent can take the child on vacation

Specify that the holiday schedule overrides the regular access or visitation schedule. If you make different schedules for summer or other school breaks, state what will happen when this time conflicts with holidays.

Parents should also state how vacation time will work: How long can a trip last? Can it overlap with the other parent's scheduled time? Can the child miss school? How soon does the other parent need to be notified?

Always make sure to use language that is both specific and applicable to any year. For example:

  • "The child shall visit Mom after school on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time."
  • "Mom gets parenting time on the child's birthday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in odd-numbered years, while Dad gets the time in even-numbered years."

Common schedules

You have countless options for schedules. You can adapt a common schedule (like the ones below) to your family's needs or invent your own.

2-2-3: This 50/50 custody schedule has the child spend two days with the first parent, the following two days with the other parent, then three days with the start parent. The start parent changes each week.

Alternating weeks: Another 50/50 schedule, this has the child spend one week with the first parent, then the following week with the other.

Alternating weekends: Suitable when one parent has sole physical custody, this 80/20 schedule has the child visit the noncustodial parent every other weekend.

The easiest way to make a schedule

If you're like most parents, creating an access or 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 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.

Make My Maryland Schedule Now

Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

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