Joint custody is typically considered an ideal situation for divorced parents who both want to be equally involved in the lives of their children. In most cases, Pennsylvania judges will accept a joint custody proposal that both parents have agreed upon prior to their custody hearing. However, not all joint custody agreements look the same, so divorced parents should know about different types before choosing which one will work best for the children.
The alternating week model
Under this plan, the children spend one week with one parent and the following week with the other parent. This model usually works better for children who are a little older, as it can be difficult for younger children to spend an entire week away from either parent. While you can choose the day that works best for you to make the switch, most parents who choose this model use Friday or Sunday as the day where the child switches homes for the week.
The 3-3-4-4 rotation
This one can seem a little complex but is a solid option for children who don’t want to spend a significant amount of time away from either parent. Parent A will have the children for three days before Parent B gets them for three days. Then Parent A gets them for four days before Parent B does the same. There are some logistical issues to be considered with this model, such as how close each parent lives to the child’s school and to one another. However, if travel restrictions don’t pose any issues, this is a wonderful model that works for many families.
Every other week with a midweek sleepover
Another version of the first model we discussed sees the children spend every other week with each parent while still enjoying an overnight visit with the other parent in the middle of the week. For instance, Parent A may have the children for the week, but Parent B gets them on Tuesday evening for a sleepover before they return to Parent A on Wednesday after school.
The joint child custody agreement that you and your former partner reach is completely contingent on the needs of your children. You can work with your attorney to draw up a schedule that works for all parties involved.