Sole Custody Schedules for Children
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules and parenting plans. You make each part of your schedule, and then you can print your calendar and plan.
A sole custody schedule is the day-to-day calendar part of your parenting plan that outlines how your children will be raised now that you and the other parent are no longer together.
The sole custody schedule provides details on where the children will reside permanently and what kind of visitations the other parent will be allowed. It also covers holidays, vacations and other special days, such as birthdays.
Because children do best when both parents are actively involved in their lives, a sole custody schedule should provide as many age-appropriate visits with the non-custodial parent as possible.
You and the other parent can agree upon a sole custody schedule can be created, but it must ultimately be approved by a family court. As long as the custody schedule reflects the best interest of the children, the court will likely approve it.
Many parents choose to use custody scheduling software such as Custody X Change, because of the convenient schedule templates included. You can create a customized sole custody schedule that best suits your newly formed family using the software, then present it to the court for approval.
Detailed child visitation schedules are beneficial for both parents and children because they provide a fair, conflict-free method to regulate visitations. The clear-cut schedules lets you know where the children will be at any given time. It quickly provides information on pick-ups, drop-offs, holidays and more.
A sole custody schedule can benefit your children, who are already emotionally stressed by the changes that divorce brings into their lives. Often, children feel intense loyalty toward each parent and don't want to make the other parent feel badly by wanting to spend time with both.
A schedule that outlines visitations can signal to your children that you and the other parent agree on when they will spend time with each parent. When you and the other parent create a schedule that puts the needs of your children first, some of the anxiety they feel may be reduced.
Some of the benefits the sole custody schedule offers you and the other parent include:
- Clear expectations of how and when transitions between homes will occur
- Reduced miscommunication about when each parent's turn happens
- No debate over who gets the children for which holiday
- Established vacation times that include duration
- Ability to schedule permanent plans for yourself and the children
More than anything, a clear sole custody schedule allows your children to experience a stable routine as they slowly become adjusted to their new life with parents in two households.
Your sole custody schedule should include all the visitation details you and the other parent agree on, as well as a calendar that specifies where the children will be. Your schedule should also outline the drop-off and pick-up times for visitations.
Sole custody schedules are commonly structured so that the children are with the custodial parent for most of the weekdays, and then visit with the non-custodial parent each weekend or alternating weekends. Usually, there are mid-week visitation times scheduled as well.
A typical schedule might be weekdays with one parent and alternating weekends plus every Wednesday evening with the other. Schedules should be created using age-appropriate visitations.
You and the other parent must create a set schedule rather than a flexible one so your children can depend on when they get to see the non-custodial parent. With set times, there are less chances for miscommunication and missed visitations.
Don't forget to include holidays and vacations into your sole custody schedule. The non-custodial parent has the right to visitations during some holidays and to spend vacation time with them as well. Many parents divide up annual holidays, then alternate each year.
Custody X Change software allows you to create a color-coded calendar that gives you, the other parent and your children an easy-to-understand schedule that indicates what days include visitation and for how long. You can print out the calendar for a quick reference or upload the calendar to your mobile devices.
The most important thing about custody schedules is to ensure they meet your children's best interests. When children have plenty of time with both parents, they are more likely to feel secure and supported throughout their childhood.
Children of all ages benefit from interaction with both parents, but young children do not have a good concept of time, so a sole custody schedule can help them comprehend when visitations will happen.
Because it is harder for young children to grasp how long it is between visits, many parents use a color-coded calendar to aid in counting down the days until visitations with the other parent. The Custody X Change software offers a visual calendar you can print out.
Here are a few tips to remember when creating a sole custody schedule:
- Frequent, shorter visits: Young children benefit from more frequent, shorter visits from the non-custodial parent. An example of an appropriate schedule for a young child might be evening visitations on Tuesdays and Thursdays and all day Saturday. This allows for plenty of visits without too much time between them.
- Avoid scheduling overnights: Proceed carefully with prolonged visitations for very young children, as being away from the primary caregiver for too long can be stressful. Work up to overnight visits slowly and always follow your children's physical and verbal cues as to whether they are ready.
- Introduce change slowly: It's important to keep the children's schedule as similar as possible to reduce the stress that divorce brings. Introduce any changes to the children's routine slowly and incrementally for the best chance of success. Come up with an ideal schedule, then implement it very slowly over a several months.
- Revise periodically: As your children grow and mature, you and the other parent can discuss revisions to the sole custody schedule to include longer visits, possible overnights and other adjustments. Schedules that work for a certain age are no longer appropriate after a few years.
Older children are more active in school and extracurricular activities, so a sole custody schedule benefits them by helping them make plans and set aside time to spend with both parents.
Because they understand more about how visitation works and can handle longer separations as well as overnights, older children should have a different sole custody schedule than younger children. An appropriate visitation schedule might include a midweek overnight or two and every other weekend.
Older children, especially teenagers, also have other demands, like jobs or dating, that take away from family time. A custody schedule can ensure that the children can arrange their plans to include visitations in order to benefit from parental interaction.
Custody X Change allows you to upload schedules to mobile devices, allowing you, the other parent and your older children to reference the calendar whenever it is convenient. When everyone has busy schedules, improved communication about custody schedules can eliminate missed visits and misunderstandings.
When you and the other parent agree that it is time to make changes to your sole custody order, you can work together to revise it to better suit everyone's needs. You can submit the changes to the court via a motion for the changes to become official.
The court will generally approve modifications to a sole custody schedule as long as you and the other parent can show that the changes are in the best interest of the children. It's helpful to bring in evidence of how the changes will benefit the children. Keeping a parenting journal can help you record and recall incidents of how the current schedule is no longer appropriate.
Here are just a few reasons why you might revise a sole custody schedule:
- Children have grown out of the previous schedule
- Children are busier with school and activities
- Major life changing events occurred, such as remarriage or relocation
- One parent has difficulty adhering to the current schedule
Custody X Change software allows you to make revisions to your custody software quickly and conveniently. You can also print out your revisions to present to the court..