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Is an 80/20 child custody plan right for you?

Not all parents can make an equal, 50/50, parenting schedule work. The 50/50 schedule usually requires two parents who have normal work schedules, live close to one another and their children's schools and can diplomatically communicate with one another. If these conditions aren't true for you and your ex, then you might consider an 80/20 plan.

At its core, the 80/20 plan involves your children spending 80 percent of the time with one parent, and 20 percent of the time with the other. These plans can be organized in a lot of different ways depending on you, your ex and your children's schedules. The most common way is to do an alternating weekend schedule. Friday afternoon to Monday morning, the children will be with the 20 percent parent on alternating weekends.

There are also plans that have the child visiting the noncustodial parent every third weekend, or for two weekends in a row after three weeks with the other parent. The possibilities to organize 80/20 arrangements are virtually endless.

This plan is most appropriate in situations where:

  • The child reacts better to living permanently in only one home.

  • The parents live at a distance from one another.

  • One parent has always served as the primary caretaker.

  • One parent is frequently traveling or has a difficult work schedule.

  • Equal time arrangements are not working out.

  • The parents agree that 80/20 arrangements are best.

  • The parents have a difficult time communicating and agreeing with one another.

If you think the 80/20 system could work for you and your ex, or if you'd like to look at the different child custody models available following divorce, a North Carolina family law attorney can help you review your options.

Source:, "80/20 Custody & Visitation Schedules: 4 Examples," accessed Aug. 09, 2017

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