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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. A 50/50 schedule usually requires two parents who have the typical “9-to-5” work schedule, 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.

What is the most common child custody arrangement?

First, a few words about the most typical child custody arrangements. In the past, traditional custody plans usually favored the mother, giving her primary custody, with the other parent seeing the children every other weekend or so. However, the past decade has ushered in a new “gold standard” of child custody arrangements, and there’s much less reason to default to the mother as the custodial parent.

In the majority of cases, North Carolina courts prefer to award joint custody – particularly 50/50 arrangements when possible. They generally agree equal contact with both parents tends to be in the best interests of the children. However, if this is not possible for you and your ex-spouse, there are certainly other options available.

What is an 80/20 child custody arrangement?

At its core, the 80/20 parenting 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. For example, 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.

When might an 80/20 child custody plan be appropriate?

This type of arrangement 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, the family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC can help you review your options. We serve clients in Charlotte, Weddington, Boone, and throughout North Carolina. To reserve a consultation, please call 704-859-2287 or fill out our contact form.

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