A lot of people come to divorce mediation thinking that they want a 50/50 parenting plan. It sounds like a great idea - fair, even, and good for the children. And it is all these things. However, it is also hard to make it work unless both parents are both flexible and committed to the plan.
Under a 50/50 parenting plan, the children spend half of their time with each parent. That means that the parents will have to live near each other and near to the children's schools. We often recommend that parents split the week - for example, one parent gets Monday and Tuesday, while the other gets Wednesday and Thursday; and then they have alternating weekends. This way the kids know which house they will be at each day; and neither parent goes too long without seeing their children. This consistency is good for children who generally thrive with routine. It is also good for the parents - they know which days they can work late or socialize after work.
To make the 50/50 parenting plan possible, the kids will need to have clothes and school supplies at each home. In addition, the parents will have to be flexible because the children's school and after-school activities may require changes on short-notice. Also, the parents must have the kind of jobs that allow them to be home in the evenings for a set number of days. Changes to the parents' jobs can quickly make the 50/50 plan difficult to do.
In divorce mediation, we help parents create a plan that meets the needs of their particular family. A 50/50 parenting plan is one good option. With a certain amount of commitment and flexibility, these plans can work successfully.