When parents divorce in California, the court requires them to come up with a parenting plan that meets their needs. This must include a schedule of when each parent has physical custody or visitation time with the child.

Reviewing commonly used visitation schedules in California can help you find the arrangement that works best for your family.

Alternating weeks

With this schedule, the child spends seven days at one parent’s home, then seven days at the other parent’s home. This arrangement works well when a child is not yet school-aged. Parents can also opt to switch weeks when both live close enough to transport the child to school.

Three days, four days

Parents who have 50/50 parenting time in California can have the child at one home for three days and the other home for four. Then, the child spends the next four days at the first home and the next three days at the second home. Parents get equal time with more frequent contact than with the alternating weeks schedule. Instead of the 3-4-4-3 schedule, parents who have 60/40 parenting time can schedule three days every week in one home and four days every week in the other home.

One evening a week with alternating weekends

For a family in which one parent will have primary custody, this schedule provides a portion of parenting time to the noncustodial parent. When the child stays overnight during the week, the noncustodial parent receives 29% of time with the child. This decreases to 16% when the weeknight visit is not an overnight. The noncustodial parent may also have additional holiday or summer vacation time.

California law gives both parents the right to have frequent, ongoing contact with their children unless this arrangement would cause the child harm. When parents cannot agree on a schedule, each can present their desired parenting plan and ask the judge to make a fair determination based on the child’s best interests.