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Challenging the Effectiveness of Alternating Week Co-Parenting Schedules

Divorce is tough for California families with children. The children don’t get much say when the adults no longer want to spend life together. Parents try to share custody and avoid hostility for the children’s sake, but seeing each other weekly for child pickups and drop-offs gets challenging. Child custody is complex; alternative weeks might not be the ideal co-parenting plan.

It’s not unreasonable for divorced parents to struggle with co-parenting. The issues that led to divorce continue, including hurt feelings from betrayal and disagreements. The child custody battle adds fresh wounds to divorce proceedings, and the stress of keeping negative emotions from the children increases resentment.

How alternating weeks schedules work

When child custody agreements include alternate weeks, children get comforted knowing they will spend time with both parents. The consistent routines reassure children that the divorce didn’t cause them to lose either parent.

If the parents do not communicate well, alternating weeks’ schedule conflicts can exacerbate issues. It can also lead to further misunderstandings about custody arrangements. A strict schedule of seven days on and seven days off gives each parent time with the children, but also, the children miss a week from their other parent.

Splitting the days brings the same challenges when one parent has other obligations, such as work or personal commitments. If one parent works weekends, that might affect the social life of the other parent. Work schedules are a common impediment to successful alternate week schedules.

The drawbacks of alternate week coparenting

In theory, alternate-week co-parenting seems to work for everyone, but the constant back and forth might start to stress children, especially younger ones. Children thrive with consistency and might resent continuous disruptions to their routines.

Parents have ideas about how to raise their children, and the rules might differ in one house as opposed to the other.
One parent might be diligent about scheduling and bedtime, while the other might be more lenient.

Children may prefer one parent over the other to gain advantages. When arguments ensue over different parental views, alternate-week co-parenting deteriorates. Alternate-week co-parenting has pros and cons; however, other options might be better for families.

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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law
520 Warren Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone: 650-381-9591
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