By Elle Barr, Attorney, GAL, Judicial Education Coordinator | Our Family Wizard, AAML NJ Bronze Sponsor
For co-parents with 50/50 physical custody, alternating weeks is the simplest parenting schedule available. When following this arrangement, children spend one week with one parent and then one week with the other. This can simplify the scheduling of changeovers immensely.
As with all parenting schedules, however, it's not without its drawbacks. To help you decide whether alternating weeks is a good fit for your family, here are some of the major benefits and disadvantages of this parenting schedule.
What Is a 7/7 Custody Schedule?
Under a 7/7 parenting schedule, co-parents share physical custody equally in seven-day intervals. Children will spend one week with one parent and the next week with the other. This streamlined schedule minimizes transitions but also increases time apart.
More co-parents embrace joint parenting time, in which they split joint physical custody into different proportions and intervals. Various forms of the 50/50 custody schedule, where co-parents share custody equally, continue to grow in popularity.
The benefits of equal time with each co-parent can be significant. Many child development and legal experts agree that frequent, meaningful contact with both parents can positively affect children for the rest of their lives. However, even for agreeable co-parents with a healthy, cooperative relationship, any custody schedule demands effective communication and a willingness to compromise. The 7/7, or alternating week schedule, provides the easiest way to split time 50/50.
You’ll often see the week-on/week-off or alternating weeks schedule rotation referred to as a “custody schedule” or a “parenting schedule.”
In general, the term “custody” can refer to either the legal or physical custody of a child or children. Physical custody refers to where children live, and legal custody explains the power of each parent to make major decisions for their children.
Today, many experts use terms like “parenting schedule” or “parenting time arrangement” when speaking about where children live in place of “custody schedule.” These new terms better represent a relationship and the parent’s responsibilities for their children. This article will use these terms interchangeably.
- The 7/7 or alternating weeks schedule splits parenting time equally between co-parents.
- The schedule features only one weekly exchange day, but children and co-parents go seven days between visits.
- Some co-parents add in a mid-week visitation to reduce time spent apart.
- Many experts recommend against the 7/7 plan for younger children who need frequent time with both parents to form proper attachments.
Read the full blog post HERE.