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Time sharing (also sometimes known as physical custody) refers to the amount of physical time each parent spends with the child. The time-sharing arrangement (also known as the visitation schedule) sets out a pattern of which parent physically has custody of the child, when, and for how long. 

Determining Time Sharing/Visitation

Often, parents will agree upon a time sharing or visitation schedule. However, if the parents cannot agree, the court will order a time sharing schedule based upon the best interests of the child. The court makes this determination by evaluating a number of factors meant to take into consideration “the wellness and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family.” Lawyers often refer to these factors as the "Best Interest Factors."

Majority Time Sharing

A majority time sharing arrangement refers to when one parent has a majority of overnights (50.1% or more) with the child during the year.

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Equal Time Sharing

An equal time sharing arrangement refers to a scenario where both parents have an equal number of overnights during the year.

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Supervised Time Sharing

In rare and extreme cases, a judge may decide that a third person should be present for any visits between a parent and child.

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Parenting Plan

Before a divorce can be finalized for parents with a minor or dependent child, a Parenting Plan must be created to govern the time sharing and parental responsibility agreements between the parents. The Parenting Plan will transcribe in specific detail the rights, responsibilities, time sharing schedule, and decision making ability for each parent. Parenting Plans are designed to anticipate any issues that could arise with the child and avoid any future conflicts between the parents. Parents are encouraged to agree to and formulate their own Parenting Plan. However, if the parents cannot agree to a Parenting Plan or if the court will not approve their plan, a Parenting Plan will be created by the court.

Holiday & Summer Visitation

  • Summer Visitation

    Summer visitation usually consists of each parent getting extended time with the children while they are home from school for the summer. This extended time often conflicts with the regular visitation schedule. Therefore, summer visitation is one of the most important issues that co-parents must discuss and decide upon regarding child custody. Having a clearly defined summer schedule helps minimize conflicts and it allows your children to experience summer camps and activities. Typically there are 4 options for how summer break may be allocated.

  • Holiday Visitation

    The holidays are often a joyous time for families. However, going through a divorce can make the holidays a particularly difficult time, especially when children are involved. The holidays don’t have to be as difficult as you may think after your divorce. If both parties can come to agreement as to the holiday visitation schedule and be civil during custody exchanges and about respecting each other’s visitation time, then the holidays can again be a joyous time for your family. Holiday visitation is laid out in the parenting plan. Regarding the holiday schedule, parenting plans typically allow the parties to select one of three options.

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