The 2-2-5-5 and 3-4-4-3 schedules are very similar to each other and choosing one over the other really comes down to personal preferences. I am going to explain how each of the schedules work, the benefits particular to each, and then the things you need to consider when looking at both of these schedules.
2-2-5-5 Custody Schedule:
This schedule is harder to explain than most custody schedules. I didn’t really understand it at first so in my resources area I am including a link for you to see a visual example if you still have questions after reading this article.
The 2-2-5-5 schedule is easier to understand if you know the 2-2 represents the four weeknights. Your child will spend two weeknights with you and the extra two weeknights with the other parent. Then the child spends the three weekend nights with you plus the same two weeknights the next week. That equals five nights. Finally, your child has the extra two weeknights and three day weekend with the other parent which again equals five nights. The 5-5 is calculated when you add the alternating weekend with the already assigned weeknights.
Once you understand this schedule, it is actually one of my favorites. The reason being is that both parents have set weeknights which do not change. Plus the weekends rotate between parents. I like the consistency and believe it makes it easier for the parents and child. For example, if you child has piano on Tuesday the same parent is responsible for getting the child back and forth. The other parent would be responsible to make sure the child takes their homework packet to school on Friday.
3-4-4-3 Custody Schedule:
The 3-4-4-3 schedule is much easier to understand and implement. The key with understanding this schedule is knowing that the first part of the week and the last part of the week are always with the same parent. For example, the father always has the first part of the week and the mother has the second part of the week.
How it works is the child spends the first three nights of a week with one parent and the last four nights with the other parent. The following week the schedule is the same but the first parent gets four nights and the second parent gets three.
This schedule is great because it is very consistent except for one weeknight which rotates each week. The only big drawback to this schedule is the same parent gets every weekend.
What to Consider:
Both of the above schedules are a great way for your child to be involved in both parents lives each week. Your child will spend time with each of you and have the opportunity to have a wonderful relationship with both parent. Finally, the child feels like it is an important part of both homes.
You and the other parent need to be comfortable enough with each other that you can talk frequently about what is happening in the child’s life. If the school informs you on Tuesday that there will be a pajama day on Friday, you will need to inform the other parent or your child will be feeling very left out! Make sure you and the other parent are ready for this type of relationship where you put you past behind you and work together for the benefit of your child.
The biggest drawback of these schedules is the amount of time your child is going back and forth. You and the other parent will need to live close to each other and the child’s school. Also you must make sure your child is able to handle the back and forth. For some children, this causes a great amount of anxiety and stress. They don’t feel like they have been at either home long enough to be more than just a visitor. You need to make sure you know the personality of your child and choose the best possible schedule for them.
You Can Make It Work:
I strongly believe that you can make almost anything work. It is a difficult process trying to do what is best for your child. Remember, your child is going to be looking toward you for guidance and help. They don’t know how to react. If you are always negative about the situation, they will be too. However, if you have a positive attitude and let your child know you love them and it takes time to make sure the very best is chosen for them, they will be comforted during this transition. Good luck!