Why an 80/20 Custody Program Might Work for You

Choosing and understanding all the different types of child custody and schedules is an overwhelming process. An 80/20 custody program has your child spending 80% of their time with one parent and 20% with the other.

This is a more traditional child custody schedule and is the basic child who lives with one parent and visits the other parent every other weekend. This custody schedule is often referred to as the alternate weekend custody schedule.

Child custody is determined in two ways. First, both parents reach an agreement and present it to the courts for approval. This is more common because it costs less and parents have a voice in what happens to their child. Also, the court will generally approve the custody schedule if both parents agree.

Second, parents cannot agree on custody and go to court. This is substantially more expensive and time consuming. Only about 10% of child custody cases go to court. When you are fighting for custody, the court decides what it thinks is best for the child. Sometimes the result is not what either parent would like.

Here are some of the reasons you or the court may consider or choose an 80/20 custody program:

  • Parents live too far apart to be able to have more frequent exchanges. However, they live close enough to make it easy to meet a few times a month.
  • One parent has a very busy work or school schedule and cannot have further custody of the child.
  • It is determined that the best thing for the child is to have a stable home environment without multiple exchanges between the parents.
  • The parents’ past behavior or involvement with the child shows that they would be better off living with the other parent.
  • The age of the child. Younger children need a stable home environment and it is recommended that they have a primary residence until at least school age.
  • Child support payments. A parent may push for this type of child custody because they believe they will receive more child support payments. Another parent can push for more custody time so they don’t have to pay as much if they have more of the child. I highly recommend that you speak with a legal professional to see how child support is determined in your state. Each state has different rules and calculations. I strongly believe that a child custody schedule should not be based on child support. It must be determined by what is best for the child.

It can be difficult to understand and choose the right child custody program. There are many things to consider and you want to make the right decision. The biggest recommendation I have in helping families choose a custody schedule is to remind them that their situation is unique.

Many people will tell you what to do or what to do. Listen to their advice, but if it doesn’t work for your situation, don’t worry. The most important thing to do is work towards a schedule that is in the best interest of you, the other parent, and especially your child. Your child’s needs should always come first.

Good luck!