What do you think of 50/50 custody? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just lurking over in single parents ( I like to get the other perspective, lol!) and didn't want to jump in on their thread. So, do you think 50/50 custody is a good/bad idea, has it worked for you, did you want it, etc.?

I think it can work really well in some cases when both parents have been/want to be involved in all aspects of raising their child, although it is obviously not for everyone (parents or kids). I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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#2 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 03:00 AM
 
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In general, think it is a bad situation. Both parents need to be healthy, sane, and cooperative to make it work. Plus I think it would work best with easy going kids. My ODS would be fine with it, he likes change. My other two children need more routine. They flip out if they go too long without seeing me. I know it is a very popular option, so it must work well for some people. I just cant imagine it working for me

My DH shared custody of DSS 50/50 before he meet me. He said he absolutely loved it. They did no co-parenting at all which is difficult for me to imagine.
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#3 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 08:07 AM
 
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If both parents got along well, if only for the sake of the child, and lived close together, and the child was okay with it, then yes, it's a great idea, but not in every situation.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#4 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 08:18 AM
 
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As everyone has said before, I believe if both parents have genuine interest to take part in child's life, are civil with each other, and can put aside their own problems and work together as parents, then 50/50 routine can be great. DP wanted it, never got it, so DSD grew up with her mom during the week, and here on the weekends. She asked several times to move in, and at the age of 14 her mom finally let her go.

I do wonder if 50/50 would have saved a lot of heartache for ALL involved over the years: for DP because he could only see his child 8 days a month, for his daughter, because she's been asking to move in since the age of seven, and for her mom, not to have to go through her child saying "I want to live with dad" over and over.

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I read the thread in single parenting, and it definitely painted 50/50 situations in a negative light. It isn't always as terrible as it sounds. This is a pretty long answer, but it is something that our family has been living for the last few years. We set up our lives to make this work - every decision that we've made has taken into account that it was vitally important to DH that he be a large part of his daughter's life. The transition to get to 50/50 and then the legal negotiations to cement it seemed to take over sometimes. It has only been since last fall that we've felt that we could just live life without focusing on it.

It works for us. For the most part. It works just as well (if not better) than when DSD was only with us EOW weekend.

In our situation, it works for a few reasons:

-We started when DSD was pretty young - she wasn't quite 4 yet. She doesn't really remember me not being around, and definitely doesn't remember her parents ever being together. She doesn't even remember much before the 50/50 change (which happened gradually over time). It probably would have been more difficult had the change to 50/50 happened when she was older and already in school.

-All of the adults get along. Even if we aren't getting along, we still make it work for DSD's sake. I know that on our end, DH makes a point to not bring up the small annoyances (like the lack of hygiene at the other house) to keep the peace. He'll weigh carefully whether or not it is worth bringing an issue up. I am guessing that DSD's mom does the same thing.

DH and DSD's mom meet monthly to discuss things, and I think that this is pretty vital. They talk between each other instead of passing messages through DSD. Some weeks, they talk on the phone almost daily. It would be really difficult to do 50/50 with no communication between houses.

The fact that DH and DSD's mom's romantic past is so firmly set in the past at this point is also helpful. Both of them at this point are somewhat in the "I can't believe I ever dated you" camp. The lack of tension over adult relationship matters makes it so they can just focus on the child-related ones.

-We are all involved in DSD's life. We all go to school events. We do birthdays and Halloween together. The fact that everyone gets along helps a lot here. DSD's sister (not DH's child) spends time with us about once a month - she is like an extension of our family, too.

-We live pretty close together.

-We have (on paper, at least) a very easy schedule - week on, week off, switching Friday after school so DSD has the weekend to adjust to being at the new house. I met people with crazy schedules (Monday and Tuesday at Dad's, Wednesday and Thursday at Mom's, then EOW at each house). As an adult, I'd have trouble keeping that straight. Also, switching at any less than a week would leave DSD never "settled." A week gives her enough time to get into a groove at whatever house she is at.

-She has two of everything. No worries about leaving this or that at the other house. Wherever she arrives, she has everything that she needs.

-We follow a similar diet at both houses - vegan. We are a little more strict and do not deviate when we eat out, but the similarities vastly outweigh the differences.

-It is nice because it allows DSD to have a true sibling relationship with all of her siblings. Technically, she doesn't have any "full" siblings, but we don't use the term "half" with regard to her sisters at her mom's or her brother (soon to be brothers) with us. Her relationships with them wouldn't be the same if she was at one house EOW.

So it works, for the most part. Reasons that it is tough:

-The biggest reason that it doesn't work is that DSD's mom doesn't seem to be around that much during her weeks, which leaves DSD constantly missing her mom. Her mom gives us a lot of extra time (some of it due to work, some due to her social life). DSD is also watched by her sisters (or now her mom's DF) a lot during her mom's weeks. In this past week, she was at her mom's and her mom was around for 2 days of that week. We had her some extra time, and the DF was there for the rest. So although it would be easy to blame DSD's missing her mom on the custody situation, it would not really improve if DSD's mom had custody and DH had visitation or vice-versa.

-Sort of related to the above point, DSD's mom is often modifying the schedule. Although we are *supposed* to switch on Fridays after school, DSD has probably only actually gone to her mom's at that time a handful of times this school year. We've had a lot of extra weekends/kept her until Saturday morning or DSD's mom picked her up late Friday night. We never seem to hear about these changes until late in the week, and we are almost a little surprised when the switch occurs on time. I think that it would be easier on DSD if things pretty much always happened when they were supposed to.

We do things a little different in our house - we tend to schedule things with the parenting schedule in mind. If DH and I have a (rare) date night, we do it on an off week. With the exception of our 2-day honeymoon, we have never taken a vacation without DSD (Her mom does this at least twice a year and it almost always requires some sort of modification of the schedule). I think that we have only modified things for our wedding and the birth of DS. And there may be a modification when I go into labor with DS2 (DSD's mom will take both DSD and DS1 for a night or two). I guess my point is that we save changing the schedule for really big things. Otherwise, we handle things like a nuclear family would. Maybe this will change for DSD's other house once her mom remarries. Maybe not.

In theory, DH and DSD's mom should revisit the parenting agreement because the schedule isn't working for one of them. But although we've had this schedule unofficially for years, it has only been set in legal stone for a little over 6 months. So no way are we in the mood to fork over another couple thousand dollars to get the thing modified.

-Although there are similarities between DSD's two houses, there are a lot of differences as well. DSD is the baby at her mom's (and is referred to as such) but is the oldest child at our house. So the expectations are probably a little different at each house as far as behavior and responsibilities. DSD's mom doesn't have her kids do chores, but we do. DSD's mom doesn't do allowance, but we do. DSD's mom is more free with screen time than we are. We have video games here, DSD's mom doesn't really do those. There are different definitions as to what "getting ready to leave the house" means at each place.

-The schedules within each house are different. We are fairly regimented here. Although he works a lot, DH works a fairly normal schedule. We set up our lives to allow him to be around as much as possible during the kids' waking hours. Family dinner is important to us. Bedtime is around the same time every night, and we follow a pretty set routine. DSD's mom's work schedule is more variable than DH's, so they have less of a routine at that house. DSD's mom also makes more spur-of-the-moment plans than we do - we tend to plan outings a few weeks or at least a few days in advance.

The thread in single parenting seemed to blame the adults a lot for not looking at what is best for the child. I am guessing that both DH and DSD's mom probably believe that having DSD at their respective houses most of the time would be the best for her. I don't think that either of those set-ups would truly work better for DSD. If her mom was the custodial parent and DH had visitation, she would probably be here nearly as often as she is now, just on a completely wacky schedule. DSD would never know if she was coming or going. If DH was the custodial parent and she had visitation with her mom, it wouldn't be enough time with her mom.

The bottom line is that overall, 50/50 works pretty well for us. It is probably the best possible set-up that DSD could have. Would it be easier if DSD lived here all of the time? Sure. But that is not something that her mom would ever be okay with. Are there problems? Sure, but the problems stem way more from the fact that blending families is tough than from the 50/50 schedule.

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#6 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 09:40 AM
 
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I read the thread in single parenting, and it definitely painted 50/50 situations in a negative light. It isn't always as terrible as it sounds. This is a pretty long answer, but it is something that our family has been living for the last few years. We set up our lives to make this work - every decision that we've made has taken into account that it was vitally important to DH that he be a large part of his daughter's life. The transition to get to 50/50 and then the legal negotiations to cement it seemed to take over sometimes. It has only been since last fall that we've felt that we could just live life without focusing on it.

It works for us. For the most part. It works just as well (if not better) than when DSD was only with us EOW weekend.

In our situation, it works for a few reasons:

-We started when DSD was pretty young - she wasn't quite 4 yet. She doesn't really remember me not being around, and definitely doesn't remember her parents ever being together. She doesn't even remember much before the 50/50 change (which happened gradually over time). It probably would have been more difficult had the change to 50/50 happened when she was older and already in school.

-All of the adults get along. Even if we aren't getting along, we still make it work for DSD's sake. I know that on our end, DH makes a point to not bring up the small annoyances (like the lack of hygiene at the other house) to keep the peace. He'll weigh carefully whether or not it is worth bringing an issue up. I am guessing that DSD's mom does the same thing.

DH and DSD's mom meet monthly to discuss things, and I think that this is pretty vital. They talk between each other instead of passing messages through DSD. Some weeks, they talk on the phone almost daily. It would be really difficult to do 50/50 with no communication between houses.

The fact that DH and DSD's mom's romantic past is so firmly set in the past at this point is also helpful. Both of them at this point are somewhat in the "I can't believe I ever dated you" camp. The lack of tension over adult relationship matters makes it so they can just focus on the child-related ones.

-We are all involved in DSD's life. We all go to school events. We do birthdays and Halloween together. The fact that everyone gets along helps a lot here. DSD's sister (not DH's child) spends time with us about once a month - she is like an extension of our family, too.

-We live pretty close together.

-We have (on paper, at least) a very easy schedule - week on, week off, switching Friday after school so DSD has the weekend to adjust to being at the new house. I met people with crazy schedules (Monday and Tuesday at Dad's, Wednesday and Thursday at Mom's, then EOW at each house). As an adult, I'd have trouble keeping that straight. Also, switching at any less than a week would leave DSD never "settled." A week gives her enough time to get into a groove at whatever house she is at.

-She has two of everything. No worries about leaving this or that at the other house. Wherever she arrives, she has everything that she needs.

-We follow a similar diet at both houses - vegan. We are a little more strict and do not deviate when we eat out, but the similarities vastly outweigh the differences.

-It is nice because it allows DSD to have a true sibling relationship with all of her siblings. Technically, she doesn't have any "full" siblings, but we don't use the term "half" with regard to her sisters at her mom's or her brother (soon to be brothers) with us. Her relationships with them wouldn't be the same if she was at one house EOW.

So it works, for the most part. Reasons that it is tough:

-The biggest reason that it doesn't work is that DSD's mom doesn't seem to be around that much during her weeks, which leaves DSD constantly missing her mom. Her mom gives us a lot of extra time (some of it due to work, some due to her social life). DSD is also watched by her sisters (or now her mom's DF) a lot during her mom's weeks. In this past week, she was at her mom's and her mom was around for 2 days of that week. We had her some extra time, and the DF was there for the rest. So although it would be easy to blame DSD's missing her mom on the custody situation, it would not really improve if DSD's mom had custody and DH had visitation or vice-versa.

-Sort of related to the above point, DSD's mom is often modifying the schedule. Although we are *supposed* to switch on Fridays after school, DSD has probably only actually gone to her mom's at that time a handful of times this school year. We've had a lot of extra weekends/kept her until Saturday morning or DSD's mom picked her up late Friday night. We never seem to hear about these changes until late in the week, and we are almost a little surprised when the switch occurs on time. I think that it would be easier on DSD if things pretty much always happened when they were supposed to.

We do things a little different in our house - we tend to schedule things with the parenting schedule in mind. If DH and I have a (rare) date night, we do it on an off week. With the exception of our 2-day honeymoon, we have never taken a vacation without DSD (Her mom does this at least twice a year and it almost always requires some sort of modification of the schedule). I think that we have only modified things for our wedding and the birth of DS. And there may be a modification when I go into labor with DS2 (DSD's mom will take both DSD and DS1 for a night or two). I guess my point is that we save changing the schedule for really big things. Otherwise, we handle things like a nuclear family would. Maybe this will change for DSD's other house once her mom remarries. Maybe not.

In theory, DH and DSD's mom should revisit the parenting agreement because the schedule isn't working for one of them. But although we've had this schedule unofficially for years, it has only been set in legal stone for a little over 6 months. So no way are we in the mood to fork over another couple thousand dollars to get the thing modified.

-Although there are similarities between DSD's two houses, there are a lot of differences as well. DSD is the baby at her mom's (and is referred to as such) but is the oldest child at our house. So the expectations are probably a little different at each house as far as behavior and responsibilities. DSD's mom doesn't have her kids do chores, but we do. DSD's mom doesn't do allowance, but we do. DSD's mom is more free with screen time than we are. We have video games here, DSD's mom doesn't really do those. There are different definitions as to what "getting ready to leave the house" means at each place.

-The schedules within each house are different. We are fairly regimented here. Although he works a lot, DH works a fairly normal schedule. We set up our lives to allow him to be around as much as possible during the kids' waking hours. Family dinner is important to us. Bedtime is around the same time every night, and we follow a pretty set routine. DSD's mom's work schedule is more variable than DH's, so they have less of a routine at that house. DSD's mom also makes more spur-of-the-moment plans than we do - we tend to plan outings a few weeks or at least a few days in advance.

The thread in single parenting seemed to blame the adults a lot for not looking at what is best for the child. I am guessing that both DH and DSD's mom probably believe that having DSD at their respective houses most of the time would be the best for her. I don't think that either of those set-ups would truly work better for DSD. If her mom was the custodial parent and DH had visitation, she would probably be here nearly as often as she is now, just on a completely wacky schedule. DSD would never know if she was coming or going. If DH was the custodial parent and she had visitation with her mom, it wouldn't be enough time with her mom.

The bottom line is that overall, 50/50 works pretty well for us. It is probably the best possible set-up that DSD could have. Would it be easier if DSD lived here all of the time? Sure. But that is not something that her mom would ever be okay with. Are there problems? Sure, but the problems stem way more from the fact that blending families is tough than from the 50/50 schedule.
this is amazing. thanks so much for sharing all of the logistics and pratical stuff. it seems like you all have done an exceptional job of making this the best possible for DSD.
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#7 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 11:19 AM
 
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I was just lurking over in single parents ( I like to get the other perspective, lol!) and didn't want to jump in on their thread. So, do you think 50/50 custody is a good/bad idea, has it worked for you, did you want it, etc.?

I think it can work really well in some cases when both parents have been/want to be involved in all aspects of raising their child, although it is obviously not for everyone (parents or kids). I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!
it does depend.
i have sole custody of DS. his bdad was abusive etc. so in the divorce i was awarded sole custody. he was given visitation but i had the right to deny him if i felt it wasnt in DS best interest. never had to use it though. he didnt even try to visit DS until DS was 6 and asked to meet his dad.

DH is filing for sole custody od DSD. she has been with us for almost 3 years now. CPS took her away from bmom and gave her to us. they wont close the case until we have custody in district court. she was more interested in drinking and stuff than taking care of her kids. and after they took away the kids she wouldnt do what they wanted to get them back, so prob in DSD best interst to get sole. i had to nag DH to file for sole instead of 50/50. he is such a nice guy. but bmom is not resposible. anyway the lawyer agreed with me, CPS agreed with me, and DH filed for sole. all she has to do is sign the papers and we are all done. she wouldnt get anywhere fighting it anyway. the evidence is very against her.

DH and I are having a second together. so that makes four in our house.

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#8 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 11:56 AM
 
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I have no first hand experience, but I have witnessed fairly closely an arrangement that is 50/50 and seems to only work OK. The parents do 50/50 every week - so the child goes about 3 days at one house, then 3 days at another, but there's one day that one parent watches the child during the day even though it's the other parent's day.... needless to say it seems to not be suiting the child very well due to all of the transitions each week. Plus, the parents still hate each other and don't coparent.

The kid lives no where, just floats throughout the week. I think it could work, and it is great that the kid gets both parents still, but watch the transitions, especially when they're young (this one is still a toddler!!!). I'd guess the week on, week off would work MUCH better.

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#9 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just have a moment, but Pinksprkly... I would love to hear more about how you transitioned your dsd from EOW to week on week off. I'll be back later to comment on more-thanks everyone for your thoughts-

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#10 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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I think it depends a lot on the situation.
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#11 of 29 Old 06-26-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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just have a moment, but Pinksprkly... I would love to hear more about how you transitioned your dsd from EOW to week on week off.
We did it over a period of months. DSD's mom was not all for the change at first. DH was in an interesting position while this was all going on, because they had no legal parenting agreement. Technically, DSD's mom had a lot of power - when a child is born to a single mother in MN the single mother has sole custody (legal and physical) unless the father initiates court proceedings. It doesn't matter what the BC says, etc. I'm not sure that DSD's mom knew this, though.

At their monthly parenting meetings, they spent a lot of time arguing over the schedule. DH had to be really careful to stay calm and only discuss the issue at hand. She accused him of a lot of things at that time. He purposely kept paying full CS (which he always did, even without a court order) to show her that it wasn't about the money. He figured they could talk about money later.

We started with the switch on Friday (she was in daycare at the time, and DH would pick her up in the afternoon) and she would stay with us until Monday. We did that for a month (so two times). The next time she stayed until Tuesday. The next month it was Wednesday. The next month, Thursday. Then, somehow, we got stuck. DSD's mom just did not want to give up that last day. We started this in the fall and it was done by spring. I think there was one month in late spring where we had been at seven days on, seven off, and DSD's mom wanted to go back to 6 on, 8 off. We did that once, then back to the every other week.

DH had the CS discussion with her during the winter. He picked that time because the laws in our state changed on the first of that year in order to take both parent's incomes into account. Also, DS was about to be born and he would factor into the new calculations. So CS dropped significantly for us at that time.

By June, the schedule was set and DSD's mom stopped fighting it during the summer. I think part of it was that she realized that DH was not going to give up. Part of it was probably that she was suddenly engaged to a supposed millionaire secret military bank robber and they were making plans to move to Greece after they got married in two years. She assumed that DSD would move with them (DH decided that he was not going to have that discussion until the date was a little closer), so she may have been assuming that this week on/week off thing was temporary.

We moved during this process, and it was then that we really set up her room. We also bought her a wardrobe to have at our house. It took time to build things up, but a year in, she probably had as much paraphrenalia as any kid living somewhere 100% of the time. When she started kindergarten in the fall, we really started the two sets of belongings thing. She needed things like a backpack and a lunchbox for school, and both DSD's mom and I purchased them. And it turned out to be easier that way.


DH retained a lawyer about 6 months after that. he and DSD's mom spent the next year negotiating the parenting agreement, and it was approved by the court last fall. He (we ) wrote it, and then he and DSD's mom negotiated the individual points. It was a long, slow process.

CS changed when the lawyer calculated it, because putting it into a calculator online and having someone do it manually can result in different numbers.

The timing of everything was very deliberate. DH also made sure that he was involved in parental decisions and doing parental things (like taking care of registering DSD for school, taking her to the doctor and the dentist) just in case it ever came down to a court battle (Not that he wouldn't have been involved, but he took more initiative).

So that is about it. I cannot tell you how glad I am that the process is over.

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Before my husband and I were married (when his son was a preschooler - 1st grade), the court/custodial evaluator came up with a schedule pretty close to 50-50 time, but without keeping the kid away from one parent for a full week (which would stink, IMO). It didn't work for them (his ex was not willing to let anything work, save my husband stepping out of their child's life altogether and mailing her a weekly check), but I do think it could work for couples in a more civil divorce. Basically:

#1- One parent would pick up the child after school Fri. and keep him until school started Mon. morning. The next weekend, the other parent did this. So weekend parenting time was completely equal.

#2- My step-son went home after school with his Mom every Mon. and Wed., with his Dad every Tues. and Thurs. Let me discuss this aspect a bit:
A- If the kid spends the night (i.e. whichever parent picked him up after school keeps him until school starts the next morning), then weekday parenting time is completely equal, just like weekends. (It wasn't that simple for my husband...but it could have been.)
B- If the parents always have the same two days of the week, there's nothing confusing about it and it's easy for each parent to arrange their work/childcare schedule.
C- My own ex has "dinner-&-homework night" (but not an overnight) with our kids 2 days a week. Rather than being disruptive to the kids, it helps keep both of us parents current on what's going on/how the kids are keeping up at school (as opposed to a "one-week-on, one-week-off" schedule, where each parent might "fall out of the loop" for a week at a time).
D- Of course as kids get older and have more complicated schedules - or if they really are sensitive about switching around so much - this might not work for the child. But take heed: my husband's ex insisted their son needed a "consistent weekday schedule" simply because that let her campaign to reduce my husband's parenting time, while sounding "maternal" rather than "hostile toward the father". The child himself gave no sign that HE had the slightest problem with how things were. Spending every Tues. and Thurs. with Dad CAN represent consistecy for a child, if Mom doesn't create INconsistency by finding some way to circumvent the court orders every week! (It's instructive that after my step-son's mom moved across the country and the court gave my husband sole custody, she stopped seeing ANY value in my step-son spending weeknights at home "in the consistency of his usual routine". When she visits, naturally she wants my step-son with her every minute, school night or not! But that's another story...)

#3- One half of the summer, my step-son was to spend the hours he'd otherwise be in school with his Mom (so he was with her most of the time and for all practical purposes had "visitation" with Dad EOW and Tues./Thurs. evenings). The other half of the summer, he spent "school hours" with his Dad (and Mom exercised "visitation"). Each parent could take him out of town for up to 2 weeks, during "their" half of the summer.

#4- Of course, they were supposed to alternate years to have him on holidays, etc. That's no different than any other custody arrangement.

Again, this was all a colossal pain in the rear because only one parent was motivated to make it work. But the basic idea is sound and allows a child to have both parents actively involved in his life - both his school life AND his recreational, weekend life - every single week, throughout the week. I think that's ideal.

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#13 of 29 Old 06-27-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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We do 50/50 but week on week off. with the drop offs being monday after school

I personally think that 50/50 is horrible when it's 2 days here 2 days there or every other day .. Giving the children 7 days at one parent and 7 at the other ,gives the children enough time to adjust to the other parents home and enjoy themselves without feeling like they are a bouncy ball

Of course this is for an older children , we did more of a every other day thing when the kids where smaller up intill they were 4 then we started to see the strain it was having on them not knowing what day and what house they would be at so that's when we switched in to the week by week ..
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#14 of 29 Old 06-28-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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I have primary on paper, but my ex has "liberal visitation", with our schedule being overnights with their dad on Wed/Thurs and every other weekend. We have three daughter, aged 7, 4.5 and 2.5. I am a SAHM, so I have them during the weekdays when they are not at school/preschool during the school year. Overall, I like it, with a few minor annoyances. The kids like it and get to spend lots of time with both of us, which is good. Their dad has a huge interest in being a part of their lives. We do not like one another, but are able to set aside our differences (most of the time-we aren't perfect and we DID get divorced, so it's not always harmonious) and keep it only about the kids. We also live close, so it's not a pain to transport the girls.

My annoyances with it are situation specific and have to do with the fact that my ex is completely unwilling to consider that this might not ALWAYS be the best schedule and that as the girls get older, it could need adjusting. For example, DD (7) is starting a new school this fall, in my district (she was in his last year, since we divorced right after school started and I felt it was best to keep her at the same school) and he still wants to have her for the two weekly overnights. I offered the idea of her spending the evenings with him and being back to my house by bedtime, but he refused. Since it's in our decree, there isn't much I can do short of hiring an attorney. But really, it could be much worse. He's flexible in most other ways with regard to switching days if we need to, letting the girls visit my family, etc. So, I guess DD getting up earlier two days/week and being schlepped over to my house isn't the end of the world. I have to remind myself that I am not going to always get "my" way. So, I'll let it rest unless she starts complaining and asks for a change.

It can work, it's pretty good for the kids if both parents are genuinely interested in sharing an equal involvement in their kids lives, but it certainly isn't for everyone and it takes a lot of continuous tweaking and LOTS of dealing with your ex, which is very draining at times.

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#15 of 29 Old 06-28-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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As the biomom of a 50/50 situation and a stepmom of a 50/50 situation I strongly disagree that switching homes during the week is "awful" and "horrible". It works well for us. With four kids all with various schedules it works much better than if we did week on/week off. We know on our nights with the kids we take them to piano practice and gymnastics. We have other family traditions and routines that fall on our nights. We know that the "sign and return" weekly packet of papers from teachers come home on our night, so they always get signed. For our four kids having the same two weeknights with us and the same two weeknights with the other parents works best.

We all also like that we touch base with our kids multiple times per week. The fact that all of us parents stay in touch (usually via email) and communicate about any issues that arise really helps. If something happens at school I can shoot an email to my ex to give him a head's up and then he can talk to our children about it the very next day rather than having to wait an entire week. For us it makes co-parenting much easier and effective.
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#16 of 29 Old 06-28-2009, 04:00 PM
 
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50/50 also worked great for us, and we did the Mon Tues with dad, Wed Thurs with mom, Frid-Sun alternated. On the days she was with mom 5 days in a row (Wed-Sun) we had a "visit" in the middle (Fri AM) and when she was with us 5 days in a row (Fri-Tues) mom had a "visit" in the middle (Sun afternoon).

It sounds SUPER confusing, I'll admit, but because we started when my step-daughter was 1, it was important for her to go only a couple days without seeing either parent.

We both worked our schedules around the parenting schedule, so she pretty much was able to have stay-at-home parents all the time, even though they both worked/went to school when she wasn't with them. Part of the reason it worked was because we (all her parents) have always been able to work our own schedules around her parenting schedule.

One (little) reason we love the consistent days rather than the week-on/week-off is that we could schedule extra-curriculars for the same day each week without having to coordinate with the other parent's schedule.

Had we continued to live close together, it may have become necessary to modify the schedule, and we were all open to that... and I think that the 50/50 schedule we had kept everyone on a more even playing field when the time came to make that decision. She had never gone very long without seeing *either* parent, so no one really held the trump card.

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#17 of 29 Old 06-28-2009, 07:57 PM
 
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I haven't read all the responses, but 50/50 would be my ideal if my ex lived closer.

Honestly, we used to live next door to each other. Literally, next door. My ex's uncle owned the apartment complex so my ex and his girlfriend got a 2 bedroom and I took the 1 bedroom next door. The kids usually slept at their house, but would come maybe every 3rd night to mine, but I had them through out part of the day, then they would go to dads when I had to go to work. It worked out PERFECT for us at the time.

Now life has changed, I am remarried, my ex lives 3 hours away and the kids really miss their dad. They wish he was close enough to go back and forth. Of course, my kids are almost 10 and closing in on 13 so they are old enough to understand and we have been seperated since my almost 10 year old was 6 months. This is their normal life.

My ex and I however get along amazingly well and his new fiance and I get along great. We could make it work because we have no issues with each other. I know that isn't the case for everyone, but I think 50/50 can work if the parents can make it work.
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#18 of 29 Old 06-28-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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It really depends so much on the parents involved. We did 50/50 for ~2 years and it really didn't work. I'll admit - I wasn't keen on it, but since we were ordered to give it a shot, I was determined that it wouldn't fail because of me. The main reason I wasn't keen on it is because I suggested to my ex that we be the ones to switch homes on a weekly basis, and leave the kids where they'd grown up. His response was that it would be too disruptive for him to have to do that. Apparently not so much for the kids.

Anyway... His version of 50/50 was that his time was his, and my time was mine. There was to be no communication between the other parent and the kids when it wasn't their time, and there was to be no communication between the parents ever. As far as I was concerned, they were free to call their Dad whenever they wanted to, if he wanted to take them for dinner or something on "my" week he was welcome to, and we needed to be able to discuss kid issues like adults. It was a disaster.

But I do know ex's who are able to make it work. All depends, ya know?
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#19 of 29 Old 06-28-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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Ours is a 50/50 situation also, with DSC alternating full weeks back and forth. It is common in our state and I don't see what the alternative would be realistically. The experts say that what is most important for kids is for each home to be somewhat predicatable/reliable but honestly I think it is difficult when the households have very different rules and expectations, as is our case. While DH and XW are civil to each other, they do not co-parent though they do communicate on basics. In general, I don't think the courts can tell what is in the best interest in each situation unless there are very clear circumstances (like abuse or abandonment), so 50/50 basically splits the difference.
I don't love the logistical reality of it but I do think my DSSs find it to be a version of normal, if only because it guarantees them equal access to both mom and dad.

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#20 of 29 Old 06-30-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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I have 50/50 with my ex. We live about 5 minutes apart and are in the same school district (he kept the house, I bought one in same district on purpose) We do M/T dad W/R mom, and every other F-M so one week its 2 w/dad 5 w/mom and the next is 2 w/mom and 5 w/dad. As a pp said, it is nice because I know I can sign them up for any classes that I want on W/R w/out clearing it with my ex, I also can not imagine 7 days without seeing my kids.
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#21 of 29 Old 07-01-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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50/50 working fine here, too. ex has DD Wednesday eves/overnights and Saturday noon through Monday morning. If something fun and kid-friendly is going on outside this schedule, we switch it up. If something fun/ unavoidable (such as being called in to work) comes up for one of the adults, we will very occasionally switch things up if it cannot be scheduled on a regular "off" night. The number of nights balances out to 50/50 over the long term, and DD is usually more than ready for a change of scenery by the time she goes to the other parent. She's pretty intense and high-needs though -- seems to thrive on the variety, which I know is unusual. She gets more one-on-one time with each of us now than she ever did before, and we each get time to recharge so the burnout is less. It works because we have lived either in the same town or less than half an hour apart since the divorce, and she didn't need to change schools or anything. She seems pretty happy with things.

ETA: I'm a student, and I go to class only while she's in school. Otherwise, I'm home with her - I drop her off and pick her up every day. During the summers I'm with her full time other than her recreational stuff. We do have Saturday mornings together too. so she gets plenty of me by the time the weekend rolls around! otherwise I might miss the weekends too much.

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#22 of 29 Old 07-01-2009, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks everyone! We are not at 50/50, but are hoping for it one day. I know it won't work for everyone, but we think it would be a good fit for dsd. But, I was getting a little freaked out/angry (i.e. he only wants 50/50 so he doesn't have to pay child support about all the negative stories over on the thread in single parenting, so I really appreciate the positive stories I'm glad it is working out for so many of you and your kids! It is great that they get to have two homes and really feel that both parents are fully in their lives.

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#23 of 29 Old 07-01-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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Didn't read the thread in single parenting but wanted to add another perspective: My best friend growing up's parents had 50/50 and she spent one week with one and one week with the next, etc. It was awful for her from the time I met her (5th grade) until we graduated from high school. (They stared when she was 5 years old.)
She never felt like she had a home- instead she was always living out of a suitcase. She never had the clothes she wanted (as in, "the tshirt that looks cute with these jeans is at my dad's house") and as we got older, textbooks always seemed to be either at the wrong house or causing annoyances by how heavy they were to lug around.
She had two very good loving parents, and I think that part of the problem was that they BOTH were so into her and enthusiastic about being her parent that she always felt torn between them. (she is an only child.) When we were teenagers she always was dealing with the parent whose week it WASN'T calling to see her and "hang out" or have a meal, and all she wanted was to hang out with her friends. Even on vacations from college, she was always stressed out about giving each parent their dose of her so that she didn't feel guilty about never seeing them. So many times I remember going to her house for a sleepover because her parents made her feel bad about spending time away from them on THEIR weekend. It just sucked in every way. The stress of being in a different place every week was always visible to me as her best friend... She ended up spending as much time as possible at MY house, where there were always a lot of people coming and going as they pleased without scrutiny.

So, I think sometimes the 50/50 is really awful for the kids because they spend so much time trying to have "quality" time with their parents that they lose out on their own childhoods.
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#24 of 29 Old 07-01-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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thanks everyone! We are not at 50/50, but are hoping for it one day. I know it won't work for everyone, but we think it would be a good fit for dsd. But, I was getting a little freaked out/angry (i.e. he only wants 50/50 so he doesn't have to pay child support about all the negative stories over on the thread in single parenting, so I really appreciate the positive stories I'm glad it is working out for so many of you and your kids! It is great that they get to have two homes and really feel that both parents are fully in their lives.
50/50 does not equal no child support. My ex and I have 50/50 but I make $45,000 (at least that's what my w-2 said, had major business loss this year so our combined gross was only 29,000 after losses) and he makes $80,000. He was ordered to pay around $1,400 a month for our two kids (with me paying day care). I agreed to a deviation in support, he pays $450 a month for day care 9 months a year and $500 in child support each month. So It should have been around $16,500 a year, I agreed to around $10,000
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#25 of 29 Old 07-02-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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yep - have 50/50 and get very generous child support here too.

: mom to one 12-year-old waterborn ball of fire :
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#26 of 29 Old 07-02-2009, 02:49 AM
 
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It works for us. DS is 4 and his dad and I live about 40 minutes from each other and have very different lifestyles. There have been a few bumps here and there, but the fact that ex and I are very willing to switch times around really helps. We call each other every day so that the other parent doesn't miss DS too much. The only issue I can see is when he starts school- someone is going to have to drive very far and I anticipate that it will be me...
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#27 of 29 Old 07-02-2009, 09:06 AM
 
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I suggested to my ex that we be the ones to switch homes on a weekly basis, and leave the kids where they'd grown up. His response was that it would be too disruptive for him to have to do that. Apparently not so much for the kids.
My dad's a family law attorney here in Indiana (where 50/50 custody is fairly unusual). He had a case a few years ago where a judge (known for thinking outside the box/being a wacko, depending on how you look at it) got so frustrated with a divorcing couple that he ordered them to do what you proposed: the adults switch residences every week and leave the kids where they were. That was really radical for our state, but my dad thought it was a marvellous idea and ought to be the norm! Unfortunately, I don't know how it worked out for them.

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#28 of 29 Old 07-02-2009, 09:57 AM
 
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My dad's a family law attorney here in Indiana (where 50/50 custody is fairly unusual). He had a case a few years ago where a judge (known for thinking outside the box/being a wacko, depending on how you look at it) got so frustrated with a divorcing couple that he ordered them to do what you proposed: the adults switch residences every week and leave the kids where they were. That was really radical for our state, but my dad thought it was a marvellous idea and ought to be the norm! Unfortunately, I don't know how it worked out for them.
I could see how this could work nicely *if* the parents got along and stayed single until their children were out of the house, but it could have a lot of pitfalls, too. The parents would either have to maintain 3 residences (one for mom, one for dad, one for the kids - could get very expensive) or there would have to be a lot of trust if the parents were to share one additional residence (your ex would have complete access to all of your personal business). I'd have trouble seeing a new partners going along with this arrangement, especially if the new partner had children as well. If I got along with and trusted my ex that much (and would be prevented from remarrying), I might be more inclined to just stay together for the kids. Or both parties stay together for the kids and have someone on the side.

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#29 of 29 Old 07-02-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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...there would have to be a lot of trust if the parents were to share one additional residence (your ex would have complete access to all of your personal business). I'd have trouble seeing a new partners going along with this arrangement, especially if the new partner had children as well. If I got along with and trusted my ex that much (and would be prevented from remarrying), I might be more inclined to just stay together for the kids. Or both parties stay together for the kids and have someone on the side.
All of this is absolutely true, which is why I'm sure that if either party in the couple I mentioned asked for a modification from the house-sharing order, they would be almost sure to get it. There are ways in which it's simply impossible - legally - to put the best interests of the kids above the civil rights of the parents. There's nothing really ideal about divorce...it's just sometimes the lesser of two evils.

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