For parents, the term “visitation” has been replaced with the term “parenting time.” Parenting time is the child’s schedule with each parent per week, month, and year, including school breaks and holidays. There are many different parenting time schedules as each family is unique. The court will consider each parent’s work schedules, the children’s school and activities schedule. Sometimes the location of each parent’s home can impact the parenting time schedule if distance or transportation is an issue.
The primary consideration for the court and parties will be to create a parenting time schedule that is in the best interest of the child and provides significant, meaningful and continuing contact between parents and child, if appropriate and feasible.One of the more common schedules is known as a 5-2-2-5 plan. Each parent will have the child for 5 consecutive days and then alternate for 2 and repeat. This allows the child to spend significant quality time with each parent without going back and forth between homes too often.
The parenting time schedule directly impacts the calculation of child support and the amount paid. If the child is spending significant time with each parent, the calculator presumes each parent is paying their share of the ongoing care and needs of the child. Since each parent is providing shelter, food, clothing, etc., while the child is in their care, child support costs would be less. If, however, one parent has the child most of the time and is primarily responsible for the costs associates with raising a child, the less active parent would pay more in child support to assist with those ongoing child rearing costs.