There’s no way of avoiding feelings of heartbreak or anger when going through a divorce. But when children are involved, the experience can seem even more agonizing. Knowing what to expect in divorce court can make the process easier.
Keep reading to learn what an 80/20 custody schedule is, and the pros and cons that come with it.
What Is an 80/20 Schedule?
With an 80/20 schedule, a child will spend 80% of their time with one parent and 20% with another. The main legal guardian is considered the primary custodial parent.
Many divorcing parents opt for this schedule to provide stability for their children. It also minimizes the number of times parents will need to meet and interact. In heated divorce situations, this can be ideal.
Why It Can Be Beneficial
When divorcing parents live in the same area, this schedule can make raising children together easier. It also can provide more consistency for the children.
For instance, a child could spend every other weekend with one parent. The rest of the time, they’d be with the primary guardian. If both parents live within a few miles of each other, this setup makes pickups and dropoffs much easier.
If one parent has a demanding career, this arrangement can be beneficial. That parent would have more time and flexibility as the 20% parent.
Additionally, if one parent lives further away, it would make sense to have that parent be the 20% parent. The other parent can serve as the primary caretaker and the child will not be subjected to as much travel.
Know the Drawbacks
One of the key drawbacks to this arrangement is that one parent enjoys a lot more time with their child than the other. It may be more difficult for the other parent to feel as involved in their child’s life. On the other side, the parent assuming 80% of the duties could feel like they’re doing too much.
Over time, this can lead to tension between parents. And the child or children involved will feel it, too. Communication is critical in these scenarios.
With the 80/20 schedule, determining how to spend holidays can be a challenge. Similarly, travel over long distances can be a logistical drawback.
Consider Other Options
The 80/20 option isn’t the only option. Some parents may want a bit more balance and choose a 70/30 division of time instead. And in other instances, parents may want a 50/50 split.
For the latter option, parents must have a respectful approach to communication. They will need to interact more often. And, with a 50/50 time allocation, parents will need to live near each other.
Sometimes parents may struggle to agree on the best schedule. Custody lawyers may be necessary to help sift through the options or advocate on a parent’s behalf.
Understand How an 80/20 Custody Schedule Works
An 80/20 custody schedule can be a good solution for parents going through divorce proceedings. It enables more stability for the child and reduces travel. It also minimizes interactions between parents who may have a more contentious relationship.
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