Pennsylvania Custody and Parenting Time Schedules

A custody schedule explains your physical custody arrangement by detailing when the child will spend time with each parent.

Courts require a written schedule for every custody case, and you may add a visual custody calendar for easier comprehension.

If you reach a settlement with the other parent, a schedule will be one part of your custody agreement.

Otherwise, each parent submits a proposed schedule before their pre-trial conference. After a trial, the judge orders one of the schedules (possibly with adjustments) or a combination of the two.

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

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Choosing a type of physical custody

Physical custody refers to how parents divide time with their child. Pennsylvania uses several arrangements. You must select one of the following in your parenting plan and design your schedule accordingly.

In shared physical custody, the child spends nearly equal time with each parent. Judges prefer this, as long as it's in the child's best interests.

In primary physical custody, the child spends at least 60 percent of their time with one parent (counting by where they spend the night). The other parent has partial physical custody and the rest of the child's time (or supervised partial custody if the child needs a third party present for safety).

In sole physical custody, the child spends all their time with one parent. The court awards this only in rare situations like when a parent is incarcerated or has severe substance abuse issues.

If parents agree on a type of physical custody, the court will approve it, unless there are concerns about the child's well-being.

Detailing your physical custody arrangement with a schedule

Your custody schedule should 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

It's important to indicate which events take priority. For example, you should prioritize holidays over the regular schedule. This means that if you're allotted custody for Father's Day, you'll spend that day with your child regardless of the typical Sunday schedule.

A few more tips for writing your schedule:

  • Be specific about when schedules and parenting times start and end:
  • "The summer break schedule begins May 20, 2022, at 3 p.m. Central time, and ends June 17, 2022, at 12 p.m. Central time."
  • Allow flexibility in unexpected situations:
  • "The child shall visit Mom on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Central time, unless circumstances necessitate otherwise."
  • Use language that is specific, yet applicable to any year:
  • "Dad will spend Christmas Day with the child during even-numbered years, and Mom will spend Christmas Day with the child during odd-numbered years.

Keep your schedule consistent to set a routine for the child. If you make changes, have a trial period to test out the new schedule before committing to it.

Common schedules

You can create a schedule from scratch or look at popular parenting schedules for ideas. The following schedules are popular in Pennsylvania.

Before you choose one, consider any time the child spends with nonparent caretakers (like grandparents) and other factors that determine the ideal schedule.

Shared physical custody schedules

Here are a few popular schedules for parents who split time 50/50.

The two weeks each schedule has the child spend two weeks with one parent, then two weeks with the other.

With the alternating every two days schedule, your child switches between parents after two days.

The alternating weeks schedule has your child spend a week with one parent, and the next week with the other.

Primary/partial custody schedules

Parents in a primary/partial arrangement typically choose a 60/40 schedule or 70/30 schedule. During summer break, the partial parent may receive consecutive weeks with the child.

With a 4-3 schedule, parents split time 60/40. Your child spends four days of the week with one parent and three days with the other.

A common 70/30 arrangement, the every 3rd-day schedule has your child live with one parent for two days and the other parent for one day.

The every weekend schedule is another 70/30 option. Your child lives with one parent on weekdays and spends weekends with the other.

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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