The Ackerman Parenting Schedule

The Ackerman schedule 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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School year schedule

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 Parent B doesn't have the weekend visit, the children spend an overnight during the week with Parent B. The overnight begins after school and ends the next morning before school. That gives Parent B 5 days and Parent A 9 days.

Summer break schedule

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).

Timeshare and holidays

The Ackerman plan is pretty close to a 60/40 custody schedule.

Inputting the 9/5 split from September 1 to June 1 and the 10/4 split from June 1 to September 1, the timeshare calculator shows 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. Overall, the primary parent spends about twenty more days with the children than the other parent.

If you use the Ackerman schedule, you'll 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 noncustodial 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 parents the time to explore individual interests when the children are with the other parent for lengthy periods.

What are the challenges with the Ackerman schedule?

The Ackerman schedule can be beneficial to children as it allows them to see both parents frequently. Typically, having positive, strong relationships with both parents is best for children.

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 easiest way to make a schedule

The Ackerman plan is just one example of a schedule that gives each parent substantial time with the children. Parents may choose to follow the exact schedule or use it as a template to create their own. In any case, parents should focus on what will benefit their children.

The Custody X Change app helps you build a schedule piece by piece so you don't leave out any important information and can account for all possible situations.

As a result, you'll get a written schedule that meets court standards and a visual calendar that makes it all easy to digest.

For quick, reliable and affordable help making a custody schedule, turn to Custody X Change.

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Long distance schedules

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Summer break

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