Dealing With Custody: Is 5050 Parenting The Right Choice?

Divorcing parents are understandably wary about how divorce will affect the children. To that end, matters that relate to child custody, visitation, and support must be carefully thought-out before a parenting plan is executed. Parents have an array of custody models from which to choose. Take a closer look at one popular choice, 50/50 parenting.

A Word About Custody Types

There are two main forms of custody: legal and physical. In most cases, both parents are automatically awarded legal custody of the child. The only time legal custody goes to only one parent is when they are deemed unfit, incarcerated, or incapacitated. Usually, both parents have legal custody of the child leaving the physical custody decision to be made. Physical custody refers to where the child will reside most of the time. If one parent is provided sole physical custody, the other parent is awarded visitation rights.

What is 50/50 Custody?

With this parenting choice, the child should spend 50% of the time with each parent – or as close to that percentage as possible. There is no visitation needed for this custody choice since the parents have equal opportunities for time with the child. While 50/50 (also known as shared custody) sounds equitable in theory, not all parents and children are cut out for it.

What Makes 50/50 Custody a Good Choice?

If both parents have the time, resources, and inclination to take on 50% of the parenting duties, 50/50 custody allows a child to experience time with a parent in much the same way that they (ideally) did when the parents were still together. This form of custody helps children ease into the transition from being with two parents to being with one parent at a time. The other popular custody choice, joint custody, means one parent takes over primary physical custody while the other parent has visitation.

The Challenges of 50/50 Parenting

Parents who choose this form of custody must be prepared to create two living situations for the child – one with each parent. That might mean having two sets of belongings. Another obstacle is dealing with the comings and goings of a child's life. Decisions will need to be made and constantly re-made to accommodate things like school schedules, sports, after-school activities, sick days, and more. A shared calendar and open communication between the parents is essential to make 50/50 parenting work. Preferably, both parents live close to each other, are very organized, and are willing and able to work well with each other.

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