In cases where child custody is an issue, the age of the child or children involved may impact the schedule ordered by the court. Courts in Washington have wide discretion when it comes to determining custody, and the court will ultimately base any ruling on the best interests of the child involved. Some custody arrangements, though, are more typical or less typical, depending on the child’s age.
Custody schedules for babies and toddlers
The child must have frequent contact with their parents with very young infants. This requirement means physical custody is likely to be rotated back and forth, with a 2-2-3 schedule or alternate every two days schedule. For example, in a 2-3 custody schedule, the first parent has the child for two days, then the second parent has the child for two days, then back to the first parent for three days. This schedule evens the time out every two weeks. With toddlers, a 5-2 custody schedule is more likely for parents where one parent has more physical custody time; 4-3 or 3-4-4-3 schedules are more likely for toddlers as well.
Custody schedules for young kids
As children get older, they get more comfortable with longer separations from their parents. Up until their early teens, a common child custody schedule is to alternate weeks or have a split-week plan. This plan allows the parents to deal with the increasing number of activities in their children’s lives.
Custody schedules for teenagers
Parents can re-evaluate a child custody schedule as the kids grow older. A good time for reevaluation is when the kid is in their early teens. By that point, a few schedules have likely been gone through, and the child is secure enough in the relationships that frequent contact is not as necessary. For that reason, a rotating every two-week schedule commences. In all cases, the court makes its custody determinations based on the child’s best interest.