80/20 Custody & Visitation Schedules: 5 Examples

Here are some common residential schedules where one parent has 80% of the time with the child and the other parent has 20% of the time.

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Alternating weekends

The alternating weekends schedule has the child living with one parent and visiting the other parent every other weekend.

1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends

The 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends schedule has the child living with one parent and visiting the other parent on the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends.

2nd, 4th, and 5th weekends

The 2nd, 4th and 5th weekends schedule has the child living with one parent and visiting the other parent on the 2nd, 4th and 5th weekends of a month.

Every 3rd weekend

The every 3rd weekend schedule has the child living with one parent and visiting the other parent every 3rd weekend. Sometimes the visit will fall on the 3rd weekend of the calendar month, but not always.

Use 3rd-party time

Having the child visit a parent one weekend per month is usually considered a long distance schedule, but it approaches an 80/20 time split if you use 3rd party time to show when the child is at school or daycare.

Insert 3rd party time to adjust the timeshare of any schedule. Marking when your child isn't with either parent more accurately reflects quality parenting time.

Calculate your time

You can also adjust schedules by changing exchange times, adding visits, divvying up holidays, etc. As you make adjustments, the Custody X Change parenting time calculator shows the effect.

Deciding if an 80/20 schedule works for you

There are many factors to consider when deciding what visitation schedule will work best for your family. Your schedule should support your child physically, emotionally and mentally, while allowing him or her to keep strong relationships with both parents.

80/20 schedules work best when:

  • Your child does better having one home base
  • Parents live far apart from each other
  • One parent has been the primary caretaker
  • One parent travels frequently for work or has an unusual work schedule
  • A schedule giving both parents more even time with the child doesn't work
  • Both parents agree on an 80/20 schedule they think is best for the child

The problem most people have with the 80/20 schedule is that one parent has significantly more time with the child than the other parent. If you decide on an 80/20 schedule but want to give the other parent more time, you can do that using a holiday schedule or a summer break schedule.

You can also give the parent with less time additional midweek or overnight visits. This may help the other parent feel more involved with and will change the parenting time percentages.

Spending physical time with your child isn't the only way to build and strengthen a relationship. The parent who has 20% of the time should make every effort talk to their child on the phone and through texting, video calls, online chatting, etc. This can help you feel like an important part of the child's life.

Including 3rd party time (when neither parent has the child) in your schedule can give you a better idea of the quality time each parent has with the child. 3rd party time may also affect the parenting time percentages.

80/20 visitation schedules are typically considered sole physical custody schedules.

The easiest way to make an 80/20 schedule

There's a lot to think about when you build a parenting time schedule. You'll want it to address holidays and school breaks, give the right amount of time to each parent, and work for years to come.

The Custody X Change app makes it easy. Just follow the steps to make a custody schedule.

On Step 2, select "every other weekend," "same weekends each month" or "custom repeating rate."

To make a custody schedule quickly and affordably, turn to Custody X Change. You'll get a written schedule and a visual calendar that meet your family's needs, as well as court standards.

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Explore examples of common schedules

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Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

Parenting plans:

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Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

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Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

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Joint physical custody

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Journal what happens

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Ways to use:

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