New Jersey Parenting Time Schedule Guidelines

A parenting time schedule provides a detailed breakdown of a physical custody arrangement, explaining when the child will be with each parent.

Your final custody order will include a written schedule that you can convert to a visual calendar for easier comprehension.

Parents who settle choose a schedule together as part of their parenting plan.

Otherwise, each parent can submit a proposed schedule. (The judge may even require this at the pre-trial conference.) The judge considers these proposals when making a custody decision.

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Types of physical custody

Physical custody, also called residential custody, indicates which parent the child lives with. It determines how many annual overnights the child spends with each parent, as well as who pays child support.

Shared physical custody is the most common. Each parents spends at least 104 annual overnights with the child. The parent of primary residence is whoever has more overnights, while the other is the parent of alternate residence.

Sole physical custody means the child lives with one parent (the custodial parent) for the majority of the time, and the other parent (the noncustodial parent) spends 103 or fewer annual overnights with the child.

Be careful when counting parenting time for the child support formula, as some peculiar rules come into play.

Detailing physical custody with a schedule

Your custody schedule should specify:

  • If/how parents will split time with the child on typical weekdays and weekends (called the regular schedule)
  • 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

It's essential to specify which events take priority over others. For example, you should acknowledge holidays over the regular schedule. This means if Mother's Day is your assigned holiday, you'll spend that day with the child even if Sunday usually belongs to the other parent.

A few more tips for writing your schedule:

  • Use language that is specific, yet applicable to any year:
  • "Dad shall have the children from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time on Thanksgiving Day during even-numbered years."
  • Allow flexibility in unexpected situations:
  • "The child shall visit Dad on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, unless circumstances necessitate otherwise."
  • Detail how you'll make up missed parenting time:
  • "If a parent misses a visit (and gives notice promptly), parents shall decide on a later date to observe the visit. Makeup time could occur on separate days if the missed visit was equivalent to one overnight."

Common schedules

You can create your own schedule from scratch or look at popular parenting schedules for ideas.

Consider your work schedule, time the child spends without parents and other factors that determine the ideal schedule.

Many families in New Jersey follow these schedules.

Shared physical custody schedules

With the alternating weeks schedule, the child lives with one parent for a full week, then the other parent for the next whole week.

A 4-3 schedule places the child with one parent for four days of the week and the other for three days.

The 2-2-3 parenting time schedule has your child living with one parent for two days, the other parent for the next two days, then the start parent for three days. Each week, the start parent alternates so that parents end up with equal time over two weeks.

Sole physical custody schedules

With the alternating weekends schedule, your child visits the noncustodial parent every other weekend.

The 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends schedule places your child with the noncustodial parent on the first, third and fifth weekends of a month. If a month only has four weekends, the child spends just the first and third ones with them.

The easiest way to make a schedule

If you're like most parents, creating a custody 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.

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Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

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