split custody

The Effects of Split Custody on You And Your Family

Many parents who go through a family law case aim for at least achieving split custody of their child once the case is finalized. There is, of course, a huge number of parents who’d want to have their child to themselves if they could only have their way. However, split custody is already a ‘fair enough’ arrangement for many. In this type of arrangement, parents could at least spend as much time with the child as much as the other parent. This type of conservatorship goal is usually from the parent who already believes that the other parent will be awarded the primary conservatorship of the child. If you belong to this group of parents, are you absolutely certain that a split custody arrangement is what would fit you and your family best?


Whether you get split custody after your family law case is finalized or not, determining the possession schedule is one of the most difficult issues you’d ever have to encounter in any family law case involving your child. There is, of course, a standard order that a judge can default to, known as the Standard Possession Order. This is typically what the judge would order if you and your child’s other parent do not reach an agreement regarding the possession schedule.



Considering the Best Interest of Your Child


The court will always consider the best interest of your child in making decisions regarding child support, child custody, visitation, and possession. A split custody where you and your child’s other parent will share the time of the child. This will be what the court will decide if it is proven to be in the best interest of the child. However, in most cases where the court orders a split custody, the court does not order a 50/50 split of the schedule. It is usually more like a 55/45 split of your child’s time, so don’t expect a perfect 50/50 split if you are leaving the decision to the judge.

If you’re really intent on achieving a 50/50 split custody your best move would be to negotiate with your ex-spouse about the matter. It’s easier to achieve such things by talking it out and making a deal with the other party than leaving it up for the judge to decide.



Variations in Split Custody


Sometimes, when it comes to split custody, it’s all about fixing the schedule to achieve the percentage of time you want to spend with your child. There are many ways you can accomplish your goal. For instance, if your child is older, they are more mature, which means they can do well with alternate schedules. By alternate schedules, we mean something like one week with you then one week with the other parent. This doesn’t have to be your fixed schedule with your child, but you have to consider that the longer time spent with one parent, the lesser traveling time your child will have to go through. This will allow for more quality time with you or the other parent, as well as more time to do schoolwork. This type of schedule can be dealt with properly by older children but younger ones might need to meet each parent more often.


For younger children, a 2-2-5 split custody schedule can be more effective. With this type of schedule, you have your child over for the first two days of the week, after which, the child will have two days with the other parent. The next 3 days and the first two days of the following week will be spent with you again, totaling to 5 days. The cycle will continue so you and the other parent will alternately spend 5 consecutive days with the child every week.


There is also a 2-2-3 schedule, which is similar to the 2-2-5 schedule but instead of 5 consecutive days, a parent will only spend 3 consecutive days with the child at the most. This allows more frequent meetings with each parent. This schedule is ideal for younger children who do not have a hectic schedule in school or extra activities.



Is a 50/50 Split Custody Ideal For You and Your Family?


When it comes to split custody schedule, a 50/50 schedule can work for some families while it may not for others. It all comes down to the circumstances that surround your family law case. You have to consider many things before you can conclude that such split custody schedule will work for you and your family.


For instance, how well do you get along with the other parent? You will need to communicate with each other to coordinate pick up and drop off schedules. You also have to think about your child’s academic and extracurricular activities and communicate to your child’s other parent. Will your child’s traveling from one parent’s home to another’s affect your child’s other schedules?

Do you think your chosen schedule will allow more quality time for you and your child?


These are the many considerations that you have to think long and hard so that you’d be able to determine which split custody schedule will work for you and your child. Don’t think about your pride and your grudges (if you have any). Don’t try to limit your child’s time with his or her other parent. The most important thing to think about is whether or not your decision is in your child’s best interests.



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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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