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Are alternating weekends really the best option?

When it comes to child visitation schedules, one of the most popular setups is known as the "alternating weekends" schedule.

For example, imagine that a man has custody of his daughter, so she lives with him for the week. On the first and third weekend of the month, she goes to stay with her mother. She still stays with her father every week, just leaving on Friday evening and coming back on Sunday evening.

This is popular because it means both parents get the same amount of weekends, when they spend the most time with the kids. It's also convenient because the first switch can be made after work and school on Friday, then the second switch can be made on Sunday evening, which is typically open with a standard work schedule.

However, don't assume you can't alter this plan.

For instance, perhaps you are typically out with friends on Sunday evening. You could extend the weekends through Monday, meaning your spouse drops the child off at school and you pick him or her up after school. This provides one extra evening for visitation.

Or, perhaps you don't like going an entire week or more without seeing the child. You could work in evening visits on Wednesdays. They're short, but they give you a chance to catch up and make it seem like you're not waiting so long -- nearly two weeks, on the off weeks -- for your weekend to come back around.

Everyone needs something different. Building a functional schedule that works for you, your ex, and your child is critical. Be flexible. Think outside the box. Make sure you know all of the legal options you have.

Source: The Spruce, "Creative Options for Child Visitation Schedules," Jennifer Wolf, accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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