Choosing and understanding all the different types of child custody and schedules is an overwhelming process. An 80/20 custody schedule has your child spending 80% of their time with one parent and 20% with the other.
This is a more traditional child custody schedule and is the basic child lives with one parent and visits the other parent every other weekend. This custody schedule is often referred to as the alternating weekends custody schedule.
Child custody is determined in two ways. First, both parents come to an agreement and submit it to the courts for approval. This is most common because it costs less and parents have a say in what happens to their child. Plus, the court will usually approve the custody schedule if both parents agree.
Second, the parents are unable to agree on custody and go to court. This is substantially more expensive and drawn out. Only about 10% of child custody cases go to court. When you are fighting for custody the court decides what they believe to be in the best interest of the child. Sometimes the result is not what either parent would like.
Here are some reasons why you or the court may consider or choose an 80/20 custody schedule:
- Parents live too far apart to be able to have more frequent exchanges. However, they live close enough to facilitate meeting a few times a month.
- One parent has a very busy work or school schedule and cannot have more custody of the child.
- It is determined to be the best interest of the child to have a stable home environment without multiple exchanges back and forth between parents.
- A parents past behavior or involvement with the child shows they would be better living with the other parent.
- The age of the child. Younger children need to have a stable home environment and it is recommended they have one main residence until at least school age.
- Child support payments. One parent may push for this type of child custody because they believe they will get more in child support payments. Another parent may push for more custody time so they do not have to pay as much if they have the child more. I strongly recommend you talk to a legal professional to see how child support is determined in your state. Each state has different rules and calculations. It is my strong belief that a child custody schedule should not be based on child support. It needs to be determined by what is in the best interest of the child.
It can be difficult to understand and choose the right child custody schedule. There are many things to consider and you want to make the right choice. The biggest recommendation I have when helping families choose a custody schedule is to remind them their situation is unique.
Many people will tell you what you should do or need to do. Listen to their advice but if it doesn’t work in your situation don’t worry about it. The major thing you need to do is work toward a schedule which is in your, the other parent, and especially your child’s best interest. The needs of your child must always be put first.