50/50 Custody

Updated on May 24, 2010
E.S. asks from Austin, TX
19 answers

Hi Moms,
Does anyone have personal experience with 50/50 custody and schedules.
My ex husband is proposing that we share custody of our 8 year old daughter and says that a one week on and one week off
schedule is best for her. I am struggling with this as I do think that more time with her dad is in her best interest, but the selfish side of me is thinking of the week i am away from her. So, I am asking if anyone out there is on this week on/week off schedule and how has this worked for you? Any issues? Does it work well? Any thoughts are appreciated.


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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your thoughts, ideas, and well wishes. I appreciate every response. My ex and I remain friends as we have since the divorce 6 years ago. Thinking this over, I do feel that consistant time with both parents is what is best for our daughter. Consistency is key. Yes, it will be tough to be without her for 7 days, but she will be in a loving home with her dad and spending some good quality time with him. And when she comes to me, she will get that good quality mom time. In the end she will have two very loving homes to grow up in. As someone who grew up with both parents together, yet a pretty much absent father, her having quality time with her dad will mean the world to her. Thank you again for all your thoughts and kind words.

Here is to happy co parenting all around!

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answers from Austin on

My new sister -in - law does this schedule with her daughter and ex husband as far as I can see the daughter loves it and so do the parents as it was hard for me to grip this style of co- parenting I think it is great that they are doing what is best for their little girl.

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answers from Austin on

Updated ad on.. ..For people outside of Texas. Here in Texas having 50/50 does not affect the child support amount. It is still based on the percentage each parent earns.. For instance, my BIL earns 3 times what my sister earns so he still pays child support. Also for insurance my sisters work has the best insurance so that is considered part of her portion of financial care. I think most parents are so involved in the care of their children that 50/50 is what they want, not a way to "get out of having to pay child support.".

sister and her ex, do the 50/50 and it works great for them. My sister is the one that moved out, so she purchased a home close to their house. This has made it lots easier for the kids to get home from school no matter "who's week" it is.

Also since the kids are involved in all sorts of sports and activities, both parents try to go to all of the events so even if it is not my "sisters week", she still attends the events and sees the kids and my brother in law and his wife can also attend on my sisters week. .. Same with school events.

This was VERY hard in the beginning. They have always agreed the kids can call the other parent ANYTIME. In the beginning (even now) there were some tough situations with switching weeks, and the holiday deal was tough. One year the kids spend Christmas with one parent the next Christmas with the other.Birthday parties and celebrations are still a touchy time.. . Unexpected things come up, so do they go with the other parent or with a relative? We all live in the same city.

There were hard feeling, hurt feelings, but it finally has settled down for the most part.

As a child of divorce and watching my sister go through this, I beg you to just do your best and when in doubt, ask yourself "how will this affect my daughter".

Let things happen organically, bend your ways and always try to take the high road. Remember this is your daughters life. She is watching and hearing everything, even when you do not realize it.

I am sending you strength. I really do understand how you feel. This is not the way it was supposed to turn out, but you are all going to be fine.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

At 8 years old, it would be a good idea to get your daughter's views on this. As someone else mentioned, it is more important to understand how a week away from you will affect HER as opposed to how you feel about a week away from her. If your daughter can't handle 7 days in a row apart from you without getting very sad/depressed, then a shorter schedule may be best.

Sure it will be less confusing for everyone to do one week on/one week off, but only if your daughter handles it well.

Provided her father provides a healthy environment, it is great for her to know that her father wants to spend as much time with her as you do.

Although I'm not divorced, my sister is, so my experience with this is through my niece, who is also 8. As someone else said below, once you get a schedule going, being flexible for special events also means a lot to the child. My niece does get very sad when she misses an event with one family because she's with the other. Her parents are very flexible, but it's happened where a grandparent visit with one family has coincided with a special trip out of town with the other family.

I hope everything works out with the new schedule!

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answers from Austin on

While you need to be equitable you also need to be flexible. For example, if the weekend he is scheduled to have her is Mothers Day weekend or your parents are visiting you can both be flexible and have her with you a second consecutive weekend and then he can have her the next two weekends. In the end it's not what's best for the two of you but what's best for her. Also, as she gets older her friends and school events will become more important. You have to be flexible about that as well. You don't say where your ex lives. If he's out of town your daughter may choose to spend more time at your home so she can do those events with friends and school. She might then spend more time during summer with him. Remember, it's about her.

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answers from Houston on

I don't have personal experience with 50/50 custody...though I know families for which it is a GREAT solution. It is always a great thing when dads want to spend time with their kids.

I wanted to share the other side of the coin with you. My ex-husband has practically nothing to do with our daughter. He chose to visit with her just five times in 2009...and just once so far in 2010. We live less than 20 miles apart and I've offered multiple times to meet him close to a job site.

You will miss her, but as you get further away from the actual divorce, you will begin to appreciate the time you get to yourself. Though I feel guilty that I often have to go on business trips...I also appreciate that I can sleep an extra hour in the morning, don't have to pack her lunch, and get to have dinner with adults...and an occasional adult beverage...lol!

Since the birth of my daughter and my divorce, the biggest stress I feel is on my time. Think about all the things you could do in your "free" week that would enable you to spend even MORE quality time when you are with her! Pay bills, stock the freezer with easy meals, see a grown-up movie, paint a room, clean out your car, read a book, eat cookies for dinner...lol.

Even if it is seen as a "tactic" to avoid child support...trust me, most support comes no where near supporting 50% of a child's care. If you live within a reaonable distance to each other, she can stay in the same school, insurance coverage isn't a problem...then this could be a great solution. Make sure that y'all agree about how school clothes, extracurricular activities, gifts, etc are agreed upon and paid for.

Rather than child support, maybe an agreement to deposit a set percentage of each of your gross income in a account for future expenses...such as college. This doesn't unduly burden anyone and puts a plan in place for the future.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a 50/50 schedule with my daughter who is now 8. We started this when she was 5. Her Dad and I both agree that a whole week with one of us is too long (for her and especially for us!). We've come up with a schedule that means the longest either of us is away from her is 3 nights. My time with her looks like this:

Week 1 - Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday
Week 2 - Tuesday, Wednesday

We switch late afternoon on Sundays.

We live fairly close, so switching this often is not a big deal as far as transportation. We have had this schedule for 3 years and it works well. I have never been away from her for a week, and I hope that doesn't happen until college!

Some parents will say their children don't do well with frequent switching, and this may be true, but our daughter likes our schedule a lot.

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answers from Washington DC on

I know several families that have this type of arrangement. The most extreme one is where the kids switch every day. The wake up at one house, go to school, go home to the other house, wake up, go to school, go home to the first house. Its insane! They are counstantly forgetting things at the house that they won't go back to for 2 days.

The one that I think works best is a Monday pm - Friday am, and Friday pm - Monday am situation. That way, each parent gets 3 1/2 days straight, and the kids don't change houses during the school week.


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answers from Ocala on

I know that 50/50 will hurt your and your ex husband' heart but you need to do what is easiest for your daughter.
Will it be hard on her if she has to go back and forth every two to three days. It will be like she is living out of a suit case and she will get frustrated with that in time.
Sit down with your ex and your daughter and ask her how many days at a time she would like to start with and then maybe after a month or so she will do ok with a week gone from M. and a week gone from daddy.

Ease into it slowly.

It is nice to hear that your ex wants her 50% of the time as well.
Because some dads just up and leave. Kids need both parents and it sounds like you and your ex are doing good for her.

I wish you the best.

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answers from Eugene on

For me, the anticipation of time spent away from my children, and them away from me, was even more complicated because of lack of trust with their father and his girlfriend--the divorce was because of their sexual betrayal, as she had once been my close friend. He also wanted shared legal custody--and was not responsible to their educational needs or medical needs, if it cost him money or too much transportation time. Finally, he had a weekend business at the time, and the kids did not want to go with him to participate in that--it was a craft business a couple of hours away. So for us it was a very complex decision. I got full legal custody--easily, as I was the most responsible parent for those matters. He got two mid-week days a week with them, and even that had to be carefully figured as to which specific days they would have homework due, likely field trips, etc, that would require extra school support and volunteerism.

I'm not telling you all these things to worry you, but to help you think through potential issues and maybe come up with your own. It doesn't make the decision easier, but it does give you a better chance at making it ultimately work for your daughter.

One other thing--just in case you decide at some point to go to college. I work in the financial aid office of my local community college. We frequently see students who have difficulty with being able to claim their child on their financial aid application for increased budget expenses and increased financial need, because federal regulations require you provide "MORE than 50% of the support". It can be just a little bit more, but the straight 50-50 parents run into trouble with this.

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answers from Austin on

I have no personal experience with divorce, so take my advice with that in mind. Here are a couple of ideas based on things that have worked for others I've known. One friend had a 4/4 schedule. Each parent got 4 consecutive days with their kids. So, if a week started one would have Monday-Thursday and the other Friday-Monday, then Tuesday-Friday and Saturday-Tuesday, and so on. This allowed them both to ocaisionally have long weekends with their kids for trips to family, and each to have free times on the weekends for themselves. Plus the kids were never far away for long. It is less predictable but not overly hectic.

Another friend's husband when he moved out found a house in the same neighborhood. They were then easily available to help or watch the child if the other needed help on their off-week. The kids were old enough they could go "visit" mom or dad just like they would a friend in their neighborhood. I noticed in my own neighborhood there are two houses which are back to back and have removed a separating fence. There are lots of kids toys in the yard and a man in one house and a woman in the other. I have wondered if this was a "healthy" divorce and thought it would be a very cool situation for kids of divorce. Two houses but one yard - allowing parents to live separate lives but the kids to almost have the same set-up as before.

Good luck and may you find a situation that works for you!

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answers from Dallas on

How is your relationship with your daughter and how is it with her dad? If you can communicate with both of them well, it might be a good idea for everyone involved to work out the best solution. As a child of divorce myself, I found it hard not to have a voice in what was going on.

Depending on how close you all live to each other, that could play a part. Do you both live close enough to get her to school? This could make it easier - instead of a full week at one place, it could be mon/tues/wed/thursday/night at one home, and fri/sat/sunday/night at the other.

Your daughter needs to feel from both of you that she is loved, safe, and respected at both locations. Her teen years are just around the corner, so the more respect you build with her now, the easier that tough time will be.

Good luck!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

While I don't have personal experience, I have a child in my daycare who splits her time. She has every second weekend with each parent, and they switch every 2 nights during the week. What helps to keep it consistent, is she comes to my house every day, whoevers day it is to have her, picks her up. She is 4 and will attend kindergarten in Sept, everything will stay the same, she will be dropped off at my house in the morning, leave for kindergarten with my school age kids and come home with them after school. I think a week with one parent is too much time away from the other, but that is my opinion.

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answers from Austin on

I have 50/50 custody with my ex. Over all we have managed to make it work. My worst problem with it , is that my son does not understand the concept of home. He doesnt have a place where he feels more at home than the other. He feels he's always visiting one house or the other. Selfishnes comes into play and we have done this since he was 3 years old. He's 10 now and its only recently that these issues have shown themselves.
He made mention last year that he would like to spend more time with us maybe switching to the every other weekend at least during the school year. So we went through a trial period trying different things. What has worked best so far is that he spends two weeks with us, and two weeks with his dad. This way he doesn't feel pulled around as much . He told us that the moment he got settled it was time to go to the other house. At the end of this trial period he stated that he still wanted to stay here more and his dad's less. When he broached this subject with his father and step mother, he says they told him that they would miss him . So now he tells me he feels obligated to make sure that both families get equal time with him so that he is not missed.

All that said if this is the only big issue we have experienced in seven years I count myself blessed.

I am personally more concerned with his remaining balanced and happy than what time I get. Unfortunatly, not all parents out there feel the same. So I try to force that motivation to the forefront of my mind in all issues.

I am starting to ramble, my only advice is to make sure she knows where home is , if its your house grandma's house the next door neighbors. Home is important to everyone its where we are most comfortable and where we can run to when we need healing. Make sure she understands that while you wish certain things were true her health welbeeing and happiness are most important to you and without honesty you cannot help her to find that. Tell her ultimatly all is her life and her opinion is important and make sure she voices it. I wish you luck and happiness.



answers from Seattle on

MOST of the people I know who want 50/50 split want it to avoid paying child support (as soon as the courts have a parent with over 50% of the time... the other parent has to pay child support).

My best friend growing up had *essentially* 50/50 split. During the school year she spent weeknights at her mum & papa's house. The weekends at her dad's house. Then in the summer it would reverse. It worked out fantastically, and they kept it from k all the way to highschool graduation.



answers from Chicago on

We were doing 50-50 with my stepdaughter when she was 6. She was on an every-other-day schedule where she'd spend the next day after school at the other parents' house. Let me tell you it was HORRIBLE! She had a whole host of issues with that, and I can't blame her. She was also spending the night at grandma's on both sides on the weekends so in one week she would spend the night at 3 different houses, and a different one each day.

I agree with the other mom that a week is too long. Right now we have it split up pretty good. Our 8-year old likes the schedule as well. She's now at our house more often, but here was the schedule before we did that.

Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday, Monday - Mom's
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday-Dad's
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday-Mom's
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday-Dad's

Rinse and repeat.

I think the best thing is to trade off weekends and trade off days during the week. A full week on and a full week off is really hard.

Good luck! The 50-50 is difficult but it's great for the child that wants equal time at both parents' house.



answers from Houston on

Please be sure to have the situation in which your child attends the same school all year long. I have seen where a child has gone back and forth between 2 school districts, depending on each parent's job situation and which city had a better after school sports program at the time. One parent even thought with the 50/50 arrangement, that depending which parent the child is with, that is the school district the child would be attending. Another incident involved several children, the children stayed at the house, BUT it was the parents that would come and go. The children had all their possessions and projects in ONE place and the parent came to the house for their time with the children. This did work well for the divorced couple.



answers from Tulsa on

My daughter had this with her oldest child's dad. They also had that the other one could visit the child while at the other parents house. Every time he had his week she would call and then come by. He would start a fight with her and then call the Police. So he had a record of her coming by and the police being called.

When she had the baby the dad broke into her apt. several times and stole the baby formula, bedding, and clothes. Then he would call child welfare to complain, saying "I just dropped off my son to his mom for her custody time and she didn't have any formula or diapers or any thing for him". They would show up and inspect and she wouldn't have anything. I kept the receipts for a while and then he stole my MIL's Egyptian cotton down filled comforter. I was able to prove it was mine and had the receipts and he got in trouble.

He had lots of documentation that she was unfit and was able to get full custody even with my proof he had broke into her apt. He also did a lot of damage to the building and she had to pay for it.

The things I would have changed are that they would have had to schedule time in a neutral area for the visits. If they wanted to see the baby while the other had him then they could meet somewhere like McDonalds and spend an hour. They would have traded him at a specific place like the police department. If the child had been older they could have had a specific time each day the other parent would call, such as every evening "around" 7 pm for about 15 minutes. That way if the other parent was in traffic or stuck in a meeting they could have some leeway as to when they could call. This won't apply in your case but it can get really nasty very quickly.



answers from Austin on

I am sorry about your divorce and the difficulty this is for your daughter. Be very flexible. Try a schedule for a month and then sit down with your daughter to see how it works. It is all about her right now. She is hurting because she can't have the family she wants. Even have an unbiased person (teacher or pastor) sit down with her to see what she thinks. She will want to please the both of you and not hurt either of your feelings. That is a huge burden for a young child. The temptation will be for you and your ex to be the "good" parent and compete. Don't let that happen. Make a pact with your ex that you will not spoil your daughter or withhold discipline just so she will like you more. I am not divorced but my parents were. I hated all the mind games, the visitation, the split holidays, everything... And my parents were civil toward each other.

As I look back on what my parents could have done to make my life better, the only thing that would have been ideal was if they would have gotten back together. Any chance of repairing your marriage? It would spare your daughter a lot of emotional baggage, especially in the teen years. (I am a high school teacher and can tell you which kids are from broken homes, or worse - they have a step-parent or two.)



answers from Houston on

I do 50/50 custody and let me say the only way it works is if you live fairly close to one another and are on good terms. This is what our week looks like. I have them Wed, Thur, Friday and he has them Mon, Tue and we alternate weekends. We have been doing this for three years and every once in awhile we get a little bump but for the most part we work it out.
It does affect the kiddos I won't lie but we make the best of it.
Sorry about the divorce and I am here if you ever need someone to talk to. Just message me.

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