Ackerman Parenting Plan in Custody X Change

What is the Ackerman Custody Schedule?

The Ackerman plan is a joint custody arrangement where the parents set up custody and visitation as a 9/5 split alternating with a 10/4 split.

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The 9/5 split happens during the school year, or from September 1 to June 1. During this time, the children live with Parent A for 9 days and Parent B for 5 days over a two week period. The children visit Parent B every other weekend from Thursday after school to Monday morning before school. On the weeks when they don’t have the weekend visit, they visit Parent B 1 night after school to the next morning before school. That gives Parent B 5 days and Parent A 9 days.

During the summer, or from June 1 to September 1, the schedule changes to a 10/4 split and the parents switch the time. So, Parent B now has the children for 10 days and Parent A has the children every other weekend from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning (4 days).

The Ackerman plan is pretty close to a 60/40 custody schedule. If you set up the schedule with the 9/5 split from September 1 to June 1 and the 10/4 split from June 1 to September 1 and use a timeshare calculator to figure out each parent’s parenting time, the parent who has the 9 days during the school year has 63% of the time and the parent who has 10 days in the summer has 36% of the time. There ends up being about a twenty day difference of time between the parents.

If you use the Ackerman schedule, you would want to add a holiday schedule so that each parent has defined holiday time with the children. This would change the timeshare percentages and you could get the schedule closer to a 50/50 schedule if you wanted. For example, you could give the nonresidential parent during the school year more of fall, winter and spring break. This would give a more equal parenting timeshare.

Who does the Ackerman schedule work for?

The Ackerman schedule works best for parents who:

  • Live close enough for both parents to take the children to school and keep the children involved in the community
  • Are able to communicate with each other enough so each parent can keep up with the children’s lives
  • Are able to help their children to switch between homes frequently
  • Are both committed to being fully involved in their children’s lives

The Ackerman schedule is a twist on the standard every other weekend schedule because the parents switch who gets the weekend time and who gets the weekday time. The schedule helps both parents stay very involved with their children and it allows enough time for each parent to bond with the children.

The schedule also gives the parents time to explore individual interests because they each have time when the children spend more time with the other parent. This can be an advantage to some parents.

What are the challenges with the Ackerman schedule?

The Ackerman schedule can benefit the children because the kids get to see both parents frequently. Typically, children do best having positive, strong relationship with both parents.

One downside of the Ackerman schedule is the frequency that the children switch homes. Some children really struggle switching environments and it may be stressful for them to constantly be on the move.

Parents can help children feel more settled by:

  • Having similar routines for bedtime and mornings before school
  • Allowing the children to bring comfort objects (favorite blanket, pajamas, stuffed animal, etc) to both homes
  • Allowing the children to eat similar foods at both homes
  • Discussing how each parent does things differently, but both are okay
  • Not disparaging how the other parent does things
  • Helping the children know in advance where they’ll be

The Ackerman is just one option of many schedules for parents who want a shared agreement. It can be modified to fit different situations and parents can take what they want from it to improve their custody arrangements. For example, you may not want to follow the exact time split, but you may want to give one parent more time during the summer. You should always focus on what will best help your children.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Schedule and Plan Now

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make My Plan