When parents in South Carolina get a divorce, they often want to split custody 50/50. This can be a great arrangement for the child because it gives them time with both parents, but parents should think carefully before they default to a plan in which the child simply takes turns spending one week with one of them and one with the other.
Issues with alternating weeks
The alternating-weeks plan may work for older children, but for younger children, a week can be a long time, and this can induce separation anxiety. There are other issues that can arise for parents who try this alternating schedule. For example, it can be difficult to get child care coverage for alternating weeks.
What may work better is a schedule in which the child moves back and forth a couple of times per week. A child might spend two days with one parent, two with the other and three with the first parent. The following week, this would be reversed so that every other week, each parent has the child for five non-consecutive days. For families that would prefer fewer changes, a schedule of 3-4-4-3, in which the child spends three days with one parent and four with the other before switching, can work.
Less than 50/50
In other cases, parents may find that 50/50 child custody plans simply do not work for them because of work or other obligations. This might mean that the child spends weekends with one parent and weekdays with the other, for example.
Parents should focus on the best interests of their children and take a number of factors into account when they are deciding on a custody schedule. While consistency is important for children after divorce, parents should also recognize that the schedule may need revision as the child gets older.