Is 50/50 the Best Custody Option for my Kids?

Is 50/50 the Best Custody Option for my Kids?

When parents divorce, one of the most important decisions they will make is how they will share physical custody of their kids. In some cases, parents may want to divide their time equally or “50/50.” This may seem like an equitable and logical choice. However, if you are considering this type of arrangement, you will want to know: Is 50/50 the best custody option for my kids?

California Child Custody

California has two types of custody: Legal and physical.

Legal custody- This type of custody refers to a parent’s ability to make choices regarding their children’s welfare. These decisions may be about matters such as where their kids attend school, their medical providers, travel, summer camp, and extracurricular activities.

Parents who have joint legal custody share in decision-making. When one parent has sole custody, they will be the primary decision-maker for their child.

Physical custody is a custodial term used to describe when a parent is with their child. When parents have joint custody, it means their child lives with both of them. When a parent has sole custody, the child will primarily live with the sole-custody parent and may have scheduled visitation with the other parent.

Sharing Joint Physical Custody

Parents with joint physical custody will have different options regarding how they will spend time with their kids. They will develop a schedule during divorce that specifies when their children will be with each parent and how the two will exchange custody. For example, some parents have a 60/40 schedule, while others may exchange custody every three days and alternating weekends. They may be picking and dropping off their kids at each other’s homes or meeting at a designated location to exchange custody.

Parents who share joint custody often want to divide their time as equally as possible. For some, that may involve sharing time 50/50. Before entering into an order such as this, it’s important to consider if such an arrangement is logistically possible and how it will impact you and your children.

Logistical Concerns

In concept, a 50/50 schedule may seem equitable. After all, you shared a home with your kids as full-time parents. So on the surface, going to a schedule where your kids get to see you and your ex the same amount may seem beneficial. However, it’s important to think about how implementing a 50/50 schedule will work.

Often this schedule is more suitable for parents who live close to one another. Therefore, this arrangement may not be as feasible when there is a considerable distance between the parents’ homes. For instance, if your kids go to school close to your home and your ex lives 45 min away, you may want to consider how your schedule will operate—under these circumstances, having an every other day or week schedule may be too disruptive to your kids’ lives during the school year.

Parental Cooperation

Before agreeing to a 50/50 schedule, you should also consider how well you and your ex will be able to get along. This arrangement often works better when parents have a cooperative co-parenting dynamic.

Additionally, like most custody arrangements, a 50/50 schedule generally works better when parents are willing to be flexible.


There will invariably be times when kids need to spend more time at one parent’s home than the other. When this occurs, one parent will spend less than 50% of their time with their kids. Do you think you and your ex can adapt to these types of changes while sharing 50/50 custody?

No schedule can anticipate every contingency. However, when parents take the time to plan and consider their children’s needs, they can develop a functional physical custody plan. The best way to determine your custody schedule options is by consulting with an experienced California, child custody attorney. Your counsel can help you examine the pros and cons of a 50/50 custody arrangement and help you determine what will work best for you and your children. 

Contact a California Divorce Attorney

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced divorce attorneys who can help you assess the suitability of using a private judge and your other available case options. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.


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