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Co-parenting: 60/40 Custody Schedule


Common Types of 60/40 Custody Schedules

While the 60/40 custody schedule provides a general framework for dividing time between parents, specific arrangements can vary depending on individual needs and preferences. Here are some common types:


1. 4-3 Schedule:

  • 4-3 custody schedule is the most popular 60/40 schedule, where one parent has the child for four days (Monday to Thursday) and the other for three days (Friday to Sunday).
  • This option provides longer stretches of time with each parent, offering stability and routine.
  • It can be challenging for families with young children who require more frequent transitions or parents with demanding work schedules.

4-3 custody schedule example

2. 8-6 Schedule:

3. Modified Schedule:

  • This is a modified version of the 4-3 schedule.
  • Modifications could include alternating weeks of 4-3 schedules or incorporating additional weekend days with one parent.
  • This flexibility allows for customization based on factors like school schedules, extracurricular activities, and parental work schedules.

4. Rotating Schedules:

  • This arrangement involves changing the 60/40 schedule at regular intervals, such as monthly or quarterly.
  • This can provide variety and prevent children from feeling stuck in a routine.
  • Rotating schedules require strong communication and coordination between parents to ensure smooth transitions and avoid conflicts.

5. Hybrid Schedules:

  • This approach combines elements of different schedules to create a unique arrangement that best suits the family.
  • For example, parents might use a 4-3 schedule during the school week and switch to a week-on/week-off schedule for school breaks.
  • This flexibility allows parents to cater to their individual needs and circumstances while ensuring the child's well-being remains the top priority.

6. Extended Weekend Schedule

  • The extended weekend custody arrangement is a modified version of the 4-3 schedule where instead of full 3 days, the second parent take the custody of the child on Friday afteroon and hand them back to the first parent on Monday afternoon after 72 hours.
  • This flexibility allows for customization based on factors like school schedules, extracurricular activities, and parental work schedules.

Extended Weekend Custody Schedule

7. Alternating weekends with midweek visits

8. A Full Summer, Alternate Weekends, and Weekly Overnights Schedule

Full Summer Alternative Weekend One Evening A Week - A variation of 60/40 custody schedule

  • Unique Custody Approach: The schedule combines full-time custody during the summer, alternate weekends, and weekly overnights, presenting a distinctive co-parenting strategy aimed at providing ample parenting time and stability.
  • Benefits of Full Summer Custody: Spending the entire summer with one parent allows for uninterrupted quality time and bonding, fostering the child's emotional connection and creating cherished memories.
  • Structured Weekends for Stability: The inclusion of predictable weekend arrangements offers stability and routine for the child, reducing anxiety associated with frequent transitions and providing dedicated time for quality activities.
  • Regular Weekday Contact: The schedule introduces weekly overnights, ensuring continuous interaction with the non-custodial parent throughout the week. This helps maintain a strong emotional connection and familiarity with both environments.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: The schedule's adaptability allows for adjustments based on specific needs, holidays, school events, or unforeseen circumstances, ensuring sustainability and a sense of balance over time.


It's important to note that these are just a few examples, and the possibilities for customized 60/40 schedules are vast. Ultimately, the best approach will depend on the unique circumstances of each family and their ability to communicate effectively and prioritize the child's well-being.


Pros and Cons of 60/40 Custody Schedule

Benefits of the 60/40 Custody Schedule for Children: Stability, Routine, and Time with Both Parents

For children navigating the often-challenging transition of parental separation or divorce, the 60/40 custody schedule offers a unique set of benefits:


1. Stability and Routine:

  • Reduced disruptions: Spending significant time with each parent minimizes the need for frequent transitions between homes, reducing stress and anxiety for children.
  • Predictable schedule: Knowing the schedule in advance allows children to develop a sense of security and consistency, contributing to their emotional well-being.
  • Maintenance of routines: Children can continue their established routines, including school activities, extracurricular pursuits, and sleep schedules, fostering a sense of normalcy and stability.

2. Significant Time with Both Parents:

  • Stronger bonds: Spending consistent time with both parents allows children to develop deep emotional connections and build strong relationships.
  • Positive role models: Children benefit from observing healthy co-parenting practices, learning valuable skills like communication, compromise, and conflict resolution.
  • Diverse perspectives: Exposure to both parents' values, beliefs, and traditions enriches children's understanding of the world and their place within it.

3. Reduced Anxiety and Improved Self-Esteem:

  • Feeling loved and supported: Spending quality time with both parents reassures children that they are loved and cared for by both parents, boosting self-esteem.
  • Positive coping mechanisms: Observing healthy communication and conflict resolution between parents equips children with tools for managing difficult emotions and resolving conflicts effectively.
  • Reduced feelings of abandonment: Knowing that both parents are actively involved in their lives reduces anxiety about abandonment and helps children feel secure.

4. Increased Sense of Belonging:

  • Dual family identities: Children who spend significant time with both parents can develop a strong sense of belonging within each family unit.
  • Healthy relationships with extended family: Maintaining consistent contact with both sides of the family strengthens children's connections with extended family members.
  • Greater sense of self: Experiencing diverse perspectives and environments allows children to develop a more well-rounded understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

5. Potential for Individualized Attention:

  • Meeting individual needs: With each parent having dedicated time with the child, they can address individual needs and provide personalized attention to their child's academic, emotional, and social development.
  • Flexibility for parents: The schedule allows parents to have their own time for personal pursuits and work commitments without compromising time spent with their child.
  • Reduced stress for parents: Having dedicated time for individual responsibilities can help parents manage stress and burnout, leading to better overall well-being, ultimately benefiting the child.


It's important to remember that every child and family is unique, and the 60/40 schedule may not be suitable for everyone. However, for families seeking a stable, predictable arrangement that allows for significant time with both parents, the 60/40 schedule offers a potential solution that can benefit children in many positive ways.


Drawbacks of the 60/40 Custody Schedule

 While the 60/40 custody schedule can offer several benefits for children and families, it's essential to consider potential drawbacks before implementing this arrangement:


1. Logistical Challenges:

  • Coordinating schedules for two households, especially with school activities, extracurricular commitments, and work schedules, can be complex and require strong communication and organization skills.
  • Managing two sets of belongings, furniture, and routines across different residences can be time-consuming and financially burdensome.
  • Frequent transitions between homes, though less frequent than in some custody arrangements, can still be disruptive for some children, particularly younger ones.

2. Emotional Strain:

  • Maintaining two separate households and adapting to different environments can be emotionally challenging for both children and parents.
  • Triggering past conflicts or difficulties during transitions and interactions can create emotional strain and stress.
  • Navigating holidays, celebrations, and special occasions across two households requires compromise and flexibility, which can be emotionally taxing.

3. Communication and Conflict Resolution:

  • Effective communication and collaboration between parents are crucial for the success of the 60/40 arrangement.
  • Disagreements on parenting styles, discipline methods, and decision-making can lead to conflict and tension, negatively impacting the child's well-being.
  • Strong communication and conflict resolution skills are necessary to address challenges effectively and maintain a positive co-parenting relationship.

4. Financial Considerations:

  • Maintaining two separate households can significantly increase expenses, including housing, utilities, groceries, and other family needs.
  • Child support arrangements need to be adjusted and carefully considered to ensure fairness and financial stability for both parents.
  • Unexpected financial burdens such as medical bills or repairs could pose challenges for parents managing two separate households.

5. Not Suitable for All Families:

  • The 60/40 schedule may not be suitable for families with significant geographical distance between parents' homes, making transitions more challenging.
  • Personalities and communication styles of parents play a crucial role in the success of this arrangement. If communication is strained or conflict-ridden, the 60/40 schedule may exacerbate existing tensions.
  • The child's age, developmental stage, and individual needs should be carefully considered when determining if the 60/40 schedule is appropriate.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a 60/40 Custody Schedule:

1. Child's Age and Needs:

  • Young children: Frequent transitions between homes can be disruptive for young children who thrive on routine and stability. Shorter stretches with each parent, such as the 4-3 schedule, might be more suitable.
  • Older children: Older children may appreciate longer periods with each parent, allowing them to focus on schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and social interactions. A week-on/week-off schedule or a modified version could be beneficial.
  • Individual needs: Consider the child's personality, temperament, and individual needs. Some children may adapt well to frequent changes, while others may require more stability and predictability.

2. Parents' Work Schedules and Availability:

  • Work demands: Parents' work schedules and availability play a crucial role in determining the feasibility of different schedules. Rigid work schedules might limit options, while flexible work arrangements can offer more flexibility.
  • Travel commitments: Frequent work-related travel for one parent could necessitate adjusting the schedule to ensure the child receives consistent care and attention.
  • Childcare needs: If additional childcare is required, its availability and cost should be factored into the decision-making process.

3. Distance Between Parents' Homes:

  • Geographical proximity: Close proximity allows for easier transitions and reduces travel time, making schedules with shorter intervals more manageable.
  • Long distances: Significant distances between homes might require longer stretches with each parent to minimize travel disruptions and associated costs.
  • Transportation logistics: Consider the availability of reliable transportation and the impact of travel time on the child and parents.
  • Birdnesting:  If co-parents are birdnesting then a 60/40 schedule provides both the flexibility as well lower cost of implementation.

4. Communication and Co-parenting Relationship:

  • Open communication: Effective communication and collaboration are essential for the success of any custody arrangement, especially the 60/40 schedule.
  • Conflict resolution skills: The ability to address disagreements constructively and prioritize the child's well-being is crucial for maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship.
  • Mutual respect and trust: Parents must be able to trust each other and respect each other's parenting decisions for the schedule to function effectively.


Choosing the right 60/40 custody schedule requires careful consideration of these factors and a collaborative approach from both parents. Prioritizing the child's well-being and ensuring their needs are met should be the ultimate goal in determining the most suitable arrangement.


Implementing and Making the 60/40 Custody Schedule Work:

1. Creating a Formal Agreement:

  • Written documentation: A formal agreement outlining the 60/40 schedule details, including specific dates, times, responsibilities, holiday arrangements, and communication procedures, is crucial.
  • Clear expectations: This document helps avoid misunderstandings and conflicts by establishing clear expectations for both parents regarding their roles and responsibilities.
  • Legal implications: Depending on local laws, a formal agreement may be necessary to receive legal recognition and enforcement of the custody arrangement.

2. Communication Tools and Strategies:

  • Co-parenting apps: Utilize technology to facilitate communication and manage schedules. Apps like Cent offer features for calendar sharing, messaging, and expense tracking.
  • Shared calendars: Maintaining a shared calendar accessible to both parents ensures everyone stays informed about upcoming transitions, activities, and important dates.
  • Consistent communication channels: Agree upon preferred communication methods like email, text, or phone calls to maintain regular and open communication.

3. Flexibility and Adaptability:

  • Unforeseen circumstances: Be prepared to adjust the schedule as needed to accommodate unforeseen circumstances like illness, school events, or changes in work schedules.
  • Open communication: Discuss and agree upon a process for making adjustments to the schedule, ensuring both parents are involved in the decision-making process.
  • Focus on the child's well-being: prioritize the child's needs and well-being when making adjustments to the schedule.

4. Seeking Professional Guidance:

  • Mediation and therapy: If conflicts arise or challenges persist, seeking support from a therapist or mediator can be beneficial.
  • Neutral third party: These professionals can facilitate constructive communication, guide conflict resolution, and help parents reach mutually agreeable decisions.
  • Additional resources: Organizations like the National Stepfamily Resource Center or the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offer resources and support for families navigating co-parenting.


By implementing these strategies and prioritizing clear communication, flexibility, and the child's well-being, families can create a successful 60/40 custody arrangement that fosters stability, routine, and positive relationships for everyone involved.


60/40 vs 50/50 Custody Schedules: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Feature 60/40 Custody Schedule 50/50 Custody Schedule
Time with each parent 60% with one parent, 40% with the other 50% with each parent
Benefits: - More stability and routine for children - Equal time with both parents
  - Reduced need for frequent transitions - Reduced risk of feeling neglected
  - Potential for individual attention - Neutral parenting environment
  - More time for one parent to focus on work or personal needs - Flexibility for parents to accommodate work schedules
Challenges: - Logistical complexities in managing two households - Frequent transitions can be disruptive for children
  - Potential for emotional strain with frequent transitions - Increased potential for conflict between parents
  - Requires effective communication and collaboration between parents - Coordinating schedules can be complex
  - Can be financially demanding to maintain two separate households - Requires strong co-parenting skills and conflict resolution strategies
Best suited for: - Children who benefit from stability and routine - Parents who can effectively communicate and collaborate
  - Parents with demanding work schedules or different parenting styles - Children who thrive on equal time with both parents
  - Families with a large geographic distance between parents' homes - Parents who want a more neutral parenting environment



The 60/40 custody schedule offers several benefits for children and families, including significant time with both parents, increased stability and routine, and reduced anxiety and improved self-esteem for children. However, it's important to consider potential drawbacks such as logistical challenges, emotional strain, and the importance of clear communication and collaboration between parents.


For families seeking a balanced and child-centered arrangement, the 60/40 schedule can be a valuable option. Prioritizing open communication, effective conflict resolution, and flexibility can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling co-parenting relationship. Ultimately, the 60/40 schedule has the potential to create a stable and nurturing environment where children thrive and parents can maintain positive relationships with their children.


Fact Check and Resources

In crafting this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:

  1. AAML New Jersey Chapter
  2. Planning for Parenting Time - Supreme Court of Ohio
  3. Oregon Judicial Department
  4. Office of the Attorney General Texas
  5. Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court

Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

Thousands of co-parents worldwide have successfully managed custody schedules, shared children's expenses, and communication with Cent.

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