The troubles with alternating weeks co-parenting plans
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

The troubles with alternating weeks co-parenting plans

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2022 | Family Law

A co-parenting plan could make child custody arrangements work out well. Not all plans are perfect, though. Many Virginia parents may opt for a co-parenting plan that relies on alternating weeks. While the plan could work to the parents’ benefit, the schedule might not be helpful for the children. There could be serious drawbacks associated with an alternating weeks plan.

Alternating weeks and parenting plans

A detailed co-parenting plan allows divorced parents to participate in the process of raising a child. A co-parenting arrangement enables the ex-spouses to agree on issues such as the child’s education, health care, and more. The plan would likely detail visitation arrangements and establish when the child stays with a particular parent.

An “alternating weeks” parenting plan seems like the most straightforward way to split custody and visitation. The child spends one week with one parent and the next week with the other parent. Afterward, the process repeats. Seemingly, if the ex-spouses live close to one another, the child would not experience disruptions with school, friends, or extracurricular activities. However, there may be substantial problems with this approach.

Alternating weeks may contribute to stress

Although these plans are valid under state family law, they aren’t always the most beneficial arrangements. Young children might find the alternating week concept stressful and troubling. Being away from one parent for an entire week may leave the child missing that parent, along with the routine of staying at that parent’s particular residence. Every week, going from one home to another upend the child’s routine, creating stress.

Even when the parents get along, an alternating weeks plan may present troubles. If the relationship remains combative, things could be even worse. Perhaps a different arrangement would be better for the child.