Working Out a Standard Custody Schedule

How do I make a custody schedule for my children?

The vast majority of divorces and custody cases require a custody schedule. It outlines when your child will be with each parent.

You can create your own custody schedule or have a lawyer create one. If you don't want to pay the high cost of a lawyer, you can use the Custody X Change software.

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What is a standard custody schedule?

When people refer to "standard custody schedules," they often mean common visitation arrangements.

However, some locations do have default custody schedules. For example, Texas courts order the standard possession schedule when parents can't agree how to share time with their children. Judges have the option to adjust the schedule based on a family's needs.

Courts in other places often provide sample or suggested custody schedules. Custody X Change has digital custody schedule templates you can edit.

As all these frameworks suggest, there is no single ideal custody schedule. Even in a place with a standard custody schedule, the best schedule is one customized to fit your family.

What is the Texas standard possession order?

When parents can't agree on a schedule and their child is at least 3 years old, a judge awards the Texas standard possession order (SPO) unless a parent shows this isn't in the child's best interest.

For parents who live 50 miles apart or less, the noncustodial parent has the child:

  • Every first, third, and fifth weekend of a month from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning
  • Every Thursday afternoon to Friday morning during the school year
  • 30 days during summer break

When parents live 51 to 100 miles apart, the noncustodial parent has the child:

  • Every first, third, and fifth weekend of a month from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday
  • Every Thursday during the school year from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 30 days during summer break

And when parents live more than 100 miles apart, the noncustodial parent has the child:

  • One weekend a month
  • Every year during spring break
  • 42 days during summer break

What is necessary to include in a standard custody schedule?

Although there are as many custody schedules as families, they usually include:

You should always include a written version (in clear, specific language). It can also help to add a visual calendar, as long as the two versions don't contradict each other.

What do children's ages have to do with a typical custody schedule?

Because children of different ages need different types of care from parents, typical custody schedules are often categorized by age ranges. For example, you will find guidelines for infants are different than for preteens.

Based on comprehension and maturity, there are common elements in a standard custody schedule that work well for each age group.

Here are some tips to consider when creating age-appropriate custody schedules for your children:

  • Develop a consistent, repeating schedule so children develop a sense of security
  • Be as flexible as you can with children's schedules
  • Younger children need shorter and more frequent visits than older children
  • Older children can handle overnights and longer visits better than young children
  • Postpone overnight visits until children seem comfortable and ready for it
  • Set up visitations during the days and times that result in smooth, calm transitions
  • Encourage visitation to extended family, such as grandparents
  • Allow time for children to pursue extracurricular activities even if it takes away from visitation time

For typical custody schedules to be successful, you and the other parent need to understand that your children now have two homes. When you do everything you can to help your children feel safe and comfortable at each home, their levels of stress and anxiety will lower.

Children do best when they have two parents who provide a caring and stable environment, even if the parents are not together. Creating a schedule using typical custody schedule guidelines can help you do that.

Does joint versus sole custody affect a typical custody schedule?

The type of custody you are awarded has a major effect on the custody schedule. Depending on whether you have joint or sole physical custody translates into how the schedule is structured so that both parents get parenting time that is in accordance with the custody.

Parents with joint physical custody must create a schedule that allows both parents to have access to meaningful parenting time with the children. This generally means a somewhat equitable split, depending on the children's ages. Older children, certainly, can handle a nearly even distribution of time between parents.

Sole physical custody means the children will reside in one parent's home, with visitations to the other parent's home. The parenting time is less equitable that a joint physical custody arrangement, but doesn't mean the noncustodial parent can't enjoy lengthy visitations with older children..

Custody X Change software allows you to work out a custody calendar that can be tailored to a joint custody arrangement or a sole custody arrangement. Once the custody schedule is approved, you can upload it to your mobile devices for easy reference.

What if the other parent doesn't like the standard custody schedule?

Determining custody is one of the most difficult problems for divorcing parents to resolve, and it is likely that you and the other parent will not agree on how to work out a custody schedule. There are many issues that you both must agree on to create a working schedule.

Among the issues most likely to cause disagreements are:

  • The amount of time the noncustodial parent gets with the children
  • Whether overnight visits are appropriate for young children
  • Holiday and vacation times
  • Caring for children when they are sick and cannot attend school
  • Missing visitation times because a conflict arises

If the other parent does not agree with the standard custody schedule you've created, it's up to him or her to create an alternate schedule. The family court will review all plans submitted and make a decision on which one is in the children's best interest.

What if the standard custody schedule isn't working for us?

There's no standard custody schedule that works forever. You'll likely need to modify your custody schedule at least once or twice as your children mature.

As children grow, their capacity to handle longer visits increases. They often become more busy with after-school activities. Teens often get jobs or start dating. Parents may change jobs, move or remarry. All these factors can affect a custody schedule and cause it to stop working well.

If you and the other parent agree that your typical custody schedule is not working, submit one together to your family court. If the court finds that it fits the children's needs, it will likely be approved.

Use custody software such as Custody X Change to create your new schedule and give it the to court either on paper or digitally.

The easiest way to make a standard custody schedule

Creating a schedule on your own can feel overwhelming. You have to be sure to use airtight legal language and can't omit any required information.

The Custody X Change app takes the guesswork out of the equation by helping you build a schedule piece by piece. Choose from standard templates, then customize them for your situation.

As a result, you get a written schedule and a visual calendar. They meet your family's needs, as well as the court's standards.

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

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

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Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

Parenting plans:

Making a parenting plan

Changing your plan

Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

Parenting plans

Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

Birth to 18 months

18 months to 3 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 13 years

13 to 18 years


Joint physical custody

Sole physical custody

Joint legal custody

Sole legal custody

Product features:

Software overview

Printable calendars

Parenting plan templates

Journal what happens

Expense sharing

Parenting time tracking

Calculate time & overnights

Ways to use:

Succeed by negotiating

Prepare for mediation

Get ready for court


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