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Child Custody | Divorce | Family

70/30 Custody Schedules, Benefits, and Examples

6 min read
Hazel Caldwell, Attorney

by Hazel Caldwell, Attorney

After a divorce or separation, a parenting plan may be written to describe the rights and expectations of each parent regarding child custody. A plan with a 70/30 custody schedule gives more time to one parent than a 50/50 schedule would in an effort to preserve family stability. The 70/30 format still gives ample time to the other parent.

The typical 70/30 schedule can include alternating weekends, allowing one parent visitation every other weekend, as according to the parenting plan, but it is flexible to include many different schedules. This article provides several examples of how you can structure the split in visitation time for partial custody situations.

What’s a 70/30 Custody Schedule?

A 70/30 schedule means that one parent has the child for 70% of the time, and the other parent has the child for 30% of the time. 

The benefits of a 70/30 schedule are that the child has a steady home base, which provides much needed stability, especially during the school year. For the noncustodial parent, the schedule allows the parenting time during the weekend, when the child is free from school and able to engage in more carefree activities.

The main drawback of the traditional 70/30 schedule is the difference in routine depending on the day of the week. The custodial parent is more likely to have the child during the school day routine, and the noncustodial parent experiences the child outside of those times. This time division means one parent is likely to be limited in their ability to engage in fun activities, while the other is limited in their ability to engage in school activities.

70/30 Visitation Schedule Examples

There are many forms of the 70/30 schedule. The most common version of the 70/30 is similar to the standard visitation schedule, giving alternate weekends and a weeknight visit to the non-custodial parent. During these times, the child stays overnight with the non-custodial parent. 

Other 70/30 custody situations include:

  • alternating the child between parents every 5 and 2 days (5 days with one, then 2 with the other)
  • giving every 3rd week to one parent (the child stays with one parent for 2 weeks, then 1 week with the other parent)
  • the “third day schedule” (2 days with one parent, then 1 day with the other)

Why Would You Use a 70/30 Schedule?

The 70/30 arrangement is used when parents are unable to equally split parenting time. A 70/30 plan can be less disruptive to all parties. It can apply when parents agree on primary custody for legal or practical reasons, but still want the non-custodial parent to remain a prominent part of a child’s life.

The specific schedule that is chosen depends on the best interest of the child, and includes considerations such as the parents’ work schedules (which affect the amount of quality time that can be had with the child); the child’s social habits and after school commitments; the distance between school and work; and the child’s need for stability. The age of the child, and the distance between school and each parent’s home, will be critical in determining the actual logistics of any parenting schedules.

You will likely use the 70/30 schedule when one parent has significant logistical difficulties that limit their available time to co-parent. For example, one parent may have a job that requires lots of overtime which keeps them from being able to participate in a 50/50 or 60/40 parenting plan. Similarly, a parent may move out of the city or be located far away from the child’s school, creating difficulties in being able to pick the child up from school or see them multiple times in the same week. In these situations, having the child stay with one parent for most of the time is easier to manage, providing more stability for the child. Thus, courts can find that a 70/30 plan is in the best interest of the child.

Sample Legal Language for a 70/30 Custody Plan

The parents have agreed to a 70/30 visitation schedule, whereby 70% of the parenting time is awarded to the custodial parent, [NAME 1], and 30% of the parenting time is awarded to the non-custodial parent, [NAME 2]. 

[Describe your selected schedule here, example provided here is alternate weekends and one weekday overnight - make sure to do your own calculations of the 70/30 math for your family]

The parents commit the child will live with [NAME 1] and be visited by [NAME 2] on Wednesday nights, from school pickup time until 10pm, and on alternating weekends, from school pickup time on Friday and continuing until Sunday evening at 10pm. [NAME 2] is responsible for picking the child up and returning her according to the stated schedules. [NAME 1] agrees to be respectful of allowing privacy and meaningful time for [NAME 2] and the child to bond. Nothing in this section prevents [NAME 2]’s ability to attend the child’s sporting events and competitions, and it is understood that any such attendance is only considered custodial time if it occurs during the visitation schedule as described in this section.]

Making a 70/30 Custody Schedule Work for You:

You have the right to negotiate a custom shared parenting plan with your co-parent. Parenting plans also allocate responsibility and duties, such as how much time each parent will spend with the child, and in what areas they will be consulted before a decision is made. 

The legal standard for the courts in reviewing the parenting plan is whether the proposal is in the best interest of the child. This means considering your work schedule, the transit time between school and your home, and the preference of the child in when they would like to spend time with you.

That being said, you should also consider how to split parenting time in a way that allows you to perform your best as a parent. If you know that you are able to provide more homework support, for example, then you should suggest additional weeknight visits so that you can do so. If you know you and your child have a shared interest in a specific hobby and you want to participate together, you can include this in the parenting plan. 

It is important, for the best interest of the child, for both parents to be a part of the child’s life to the fullest extent possible. For most families, this means encouraging the other parent to attend the child’s school competitions and events, even if they are during “your” time with the child. Doing this will give the child greater stability and reassurance that your interests are in developing and supporting them, rather than in personal animosities between parents. Consider adding language into your parenting plan that specifically addresses issues relating to your child’s interests, such as their sporting events.

Consider your unique relationship with your child and how you can build this to be the best support you can as your child develops.

  • Discussion of factors for reducing parenting time from 50/50: Penn v. Penn, 09-213 (La. App. 5 Cir. 10/27/09), 28 So. 3d 304
  • Example of 50/50 week-on, week-off schedule not working: Anderson v. Anderson, 199 So. 3d 66 (Ala. Civ. App. 2015)
  • Presumption of 50/50 parenting time challenged: Barnett v. White, 584 S.W.3d 755, 760 (Ky. Ct. App. 2019)

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