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Child custody schedules, special parenting time resources from divorce mediator and researcher, Robert Emery, Ph.D.

Child Custody Alternative Schedules (Children of All Ages) — by Parents' Divorce Style

The following alternative child custody plans and parenting time schedules for separated or divorced parents are from the latest studies and review of developmental research by family, child custody and divorce mediator, clinician, educator and author Robert Emery, Ph.D. Exclusively on our site on the web, these are graciously shared with Dr. Emery's permission.

Additional information regarding the Truth About Children and Divorce, including child custody and parenting plans guidance, from divorce mediator and researcher, Robert Emery, Ph.D.Dr. Emery is a nationally recognized expert on children, divorce and child custody. A Professor of Psychology and Director of The Center for Children, Families and the Law at the University of Virginia, Dr. Emery has authored more than a hundred scientific publications and several books, including his latest on children, divorce and child custody issues:  The Truth About Children and Divorce:  Dealing With the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive.

Dr. Emery’s unique approach focuses on his conviction that parents’ “divorce style” (a couple’s style of relating with each other after their separation) critically influences the success of different child custody and parenting plans. Accordingly, for each age grouping of children, he suggests different child custody parenting plans and timesharing schedules for each of three divorce styles:

  1. traditional timesharing options for an “angry divorce,
  2. more integrated timesharing options for a “distant divorce,” and
  3. closely integrated timesharing options for a “cooperative divorce.”

Like Dr. Joan Kelly with her Child Custody Parenting Plan Options (for Children of School Age), Dr. Emery also is emphatic that his alternative timesharing schedules are child custody and parenting plan options to help you consider and develop an appropriate timesharing and parenting plan for your family. As he writes:

You are the leading expert on your children, and you should be the one to craft a plan that you think will work best for them.”

With that caution and encouragement, here are some developmentally appropriate child custody parenting plan or timesharing schedule alternatives to consider from Dr. Emery.  These are suggested for the following age groups:


Infants and Babies: Birth to Eighteen Months

Traditional Options for an Angry Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., including an afternoon nap.
  • Every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.; every Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., picked up at day care and returned to other parent’s home.

More Integrated Options for a Distant Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., including an afternoon nap; every Wednesday evening from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., perhaps spending some time at the residential parent’s home.
  • Every Saturday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; every Monday and Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., picked up at day care and returned to other parent’s home.

Closely Integrated Options for a Cooperative Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., including an afternoon nap; every Monday and Wednesday evening from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.; some contact/feeding/bedtime takes place at residential parent’s home.
  • Two weekdays from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (substituting for child care); every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; occasional Saturday overnights if the baby seems to tolerate them well.


Toddlers:  Eighteen Months to Three Years

Traditional Options for an Angry Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Overnight until 10:00 a.m. on alternate Sundays
  • Every other weekend from 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, with an overnight until 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Alternate Monday evenings from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on the Monday following the weekend spent with the residential parent.

More Integrated Options for a Distant Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., including a nap. Overnight until 9:00 a.m. on alternate Sundays. Every Wednesday evening from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Closely Integrated Options for a Cooperative Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Sunday. Every Monday and Wednesday evening from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.; some contact/feeding/bedtime takes place at residential parent’s home.
  • Two weekdays from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (substituting for child care); every Friday from 1:00 p.m. until 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.


Preschoolers from Three to Five Years Old

Traditional Options for an Angry Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. on Friday until 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Alternate Mondays from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on the Monday following the weekend spent with the residential parent.

More Integrated Options for a Distant Divorce

  • Every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Every Wednesday evening from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. on Friday until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Every Monday and Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. picked up and returned to day care.

Closely Integrated Options for a Cooperative Divorce

  • Two weekdays from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.. (substituting for child care). Overnights every Thursday night. Every other weekend Thursday from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Every Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.


Early School-Age Children from Six to Nine Years Old

Traditional Options for an Angry Divorce

  • Every Friday from after school until 5:00 p.m. Saturday.
  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. Friday until 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Alternate Mondays from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on the Monday following the weekend spent with the residential parent.

More Integrated Options for a Distant Divorce

  • Every Friday from after school until 5:00 p.m. Saturday. Every Monday evening from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. Thursday until 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Alternate Thursday evenings from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Closely Integrated Options for a Cooperative Divorce

  • Every Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Every Wednesday from 3:00 p.m., until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday with one parent; every Saturday at 5:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday with the other parent.
  • Every Monday and Tuesday with one parent; every Wednesday and Thursday with the other parent. Alternate weekends from Friday through Sunday with each parent.


Late School-Age Children from Ten to Twelve Years Old

Traditional Options for an Angry Divorce

  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. on Friday until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Alternate Mondays from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on the Monday following the weekend spent with the residential parent.

More Integrated Options for a Distant Divorce

  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. on Thursday until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Every Monday evening from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Closely Integrated Options for a Cooperative Divorce

  • Every Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday with one parent; every Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday with the other parent.
  • Alternate weeks with each parent with exchanges on either Fridays or Sundays.


Adolescents Age Thirteen to Eighteen

Traditional Options for an Angry Divorce

  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. on Friday until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Some flexible contact is possible during other times.

More Integrated Options for a Distant Divorce

  • Every other weekend from 5:00 p.m. on Thursday until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Dinner on the “off” Thursday, plus some flexible contact during other “off” times.

Closely Integrated Options for a Cooperative Divorce

  • Every Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday with one parent; every Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday with the other parent with more flexibility to meet teenager’s own needs.
  • Alternate weeks with each parent with some flexible contact.

For more details with respect to these alternative child custody schedules for all ages of children, and a user-friendly guide to designing workable child custody and parenting time plans, Dr. Emery's insightful divorce book, The Truth About Children and Divorce, is highly recommended.


Use of the Phrase “Child Custody” and “Child Custody Plans” in Colorado

“Child custody” and “child custody plans”, “custody”, “custodian”, “visitation” — all are words which create confusion and distort the real issues of how parents should best share time with (and even make decisions regarding) their children.  As most Colorado mediators and divorce professionals, we don't use them, and the more progressive and enlightened Colorado child custody and divorce laws have abandoned them as well in favor of phrases such as “timesharing schedules”, “parenting time plans” and allocation of “decision-making” and “parental responsibilities”

Only because we are so often asked about Colorado child custody information, have we reluctantly included these popular phrases in this section of our website.  (Please see our further discussion about the new Colorado law's terminology at the Questions - Why Not Use “Child Custody” or “Visitation” Language in Discussing Colorado Child Custody Plans or Issues? section of our website.)

Mediation of Colorado Child Custody / Parenting Plans and Timesharing Schedules

Given the ongoing nature of their relationship, many parents find family mediation especially well suited as a positive process to help them communicate effectively and to resolve efficiently divorce, child custody, timesharing, parenting plan and other parenting disputes.

Indeed, Dr. Emery’s recent scientific studies detailed in his book The Truth About Children and Divorce demonstrate the astonishing long term benefits to children of families who take control of their own destiny, and attempt to work out their own agreements in child custody or divorce mediation! See our article about Dr. Emery's research confirming divorce mediation's persistent and positive effects on families.

For more information about mediation as a powerful alternative to adversarial Colorado child custody, divorce or parenting litigation, see our site's Why Choose Divorce Mediation and (Colorado Divorce & Mediation) Questions & Myths  sections.  Here, we answer other questions, and debunk commonly held misunderstandings − regarding Colorado child custody and Colorado divorce laws, court procedures and alternative dispute resolution alternatives, such as family mediation.

Colorado divorce, Colorado family law and Colorado mediation planning tools, Colorado divorce forms and Divorce Resolutions® contact information.
“Mediation with Divorce Resolutions® spared our children the additional emotional turmoil, and spared us the additional costs, that traditional divorce would have imposed. We felt, at all times, that we were in control with a Colorado attorney-mediator as our friend and guide through a difficult process.”
- R.F.

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