Flexible child custody arrangements

Some Florida divorced might think about arrangements for child custody and visitation in terms of the traditional schedule in which the custodial parent has the child most of the time and the noncustodial parent gets the child every alternate weekend, usually from 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. on Sunday. However, this schedule can be tweaked or restructured entirely to better suit the needs of both parent and child.

For example, rather than ending the visitation period on Sunday evening, this time might be extended to Monday. This can also be helpful to a custodial parent who needs to be away on weekends and cannot always make it back by Sunday evening. Another option is to add in a weeknight visit for a couple of hours or even a weeknight overnight.

Schedules can be changed to accommodate parents who have demanding work schedules or who work swing shift. A custodial parent might have a child from Thursday to the following Tuesday while the noncustodial parent might have the child from Tuesday until Thursday. Any number of other configurations may work whether they are created by the parents or part of a court-ordered schedule. Some arrangements may require more consistent communication between parents but may also give the noncustodial parent more opportunity to participate in the child's life.

Another possibility for parents is joint custody. This opens up an even larger range of potential schedules. The child might spend one week with one parent and the following week with the other, or the child may spend some weekend nights with each parent and alternate weekends. As part of the custody arrangements, parents may also want to discuss vacations and holidays. Having clear expectations and a plan for these and other times of the year can help prevent conflict and disappointment that result from misunderstandings about the schedule.

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