When parents are considering either primary or shared physical custody of a child in a divorce or separation case, reaching an agreement on parenting time (also called visitation) is going to be an important part of the discussion. While a judge can render a decision if necessary, it is usually in the best interest of both parents, and their children if they are of a certain age, to decide on a parenting time schedule together through mediation. Parenting time mediation from a skilled mediator can be a helpful way to make these decisions.
Types of Parenting Time
In general, parenting time falls under one of two categories: supervised and unsupervised.
Supervised parenting time is typically reserved for situations where one or both parents may pose some kind of threat to the children or otherwise cannot be trusted to be alone with them. The contact between parent and child would be overseen by another adult, who is chosen by the parents or assigned and appointed by the court (usually a social worker). This type of parenting situation is less commonly dealt with via mediation and may need to be addressed and decided by a judge.
Parenting time mediation will usually deal with unsupervised parenting time, or visitation. When a divorce is being settled, one parent may have primary physical/residential custody of a child to give the child a stable living environment, but the other parent (the non-custodial/non-residential parent) is still entitled to time with their child. Many parents will agree to a schedule where the child spends a certain number of days with one parent and then spend a certain number of days with the other parent. Depending on each parent’s living situation and their distance from one another, there are a variety of schedules that can work for the child that will not upend their lives and routines, nor the lives and routines of the parents.
Common Parenting Time Schedules
Some parents may want to try a 50-50 schedule in order to experience the same amount of time with their children. This can work by alternating every week or every two weeks, but in some cases this may not work when taking school, activities, or distances into consideration. The parenting time schedule that works best for one family may not work at all for another. Here are some common schedule alternatives that can be explored and adopted.
- 5-2 schedule or the 2-2-5-5 schedule – The child is with one parent for 5 days and the other parent for 2 days.
- 1 week each schedule – The child alternates spending 1 week at a time with each parent.
- 2 weeks each schedule – The child alternates spending 2 weeks with each parent.
- Every 3rd week schedule – The child spends 2 weeks with one parent and the 3rd week with the other parent.
- Alternating every 2 days schedule – The child alternates spending 2 days with each parent.
- Every 3rd day schedule – The child spends 2 day with one parent and 1 day with the other parent.
- 4-3 schedule or the 3-4-4-3 schedule – The child spends 4 days with one parent and 3 days with the other parent.
- 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends schedule or the 2nd, 4th and 5th weekends schedule – The child lives with one parent and has assigned weekends with the other parent.
- Every 3rd weekend schedule – The child spends every 3rd weekend with the nonresidential parent.
These are just a few of the more common options for parenting time schedules that work, but ultimately the decision will depend on what works best for each parent.
Contact Steven B. Menack Regarding NJ Parenting Time Mediation
If you are looking to figure out a parenting time schedule in New Jersey, contact Steven B. Menack today. His skilled divorce mediation services will help you reach an agreement without needing to get the court involved.