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How is a custody schedule determined?

The “best interest of the child” standard is gender-neutral with the focus being on the child’s needs. Some court orders are for a child to reside primarily with one parent (for example, if one parent travels extensively for work and the other parent has been a stay-at-home parent attending to a special needs child). Most court orders are for joint physical custody, with the children spending significant time with both parents, if that is what is best for the children. There are many different schedules for parents to share custody. The simplest example is the “week-on/week-off” schedule (not necessarily appropriate for very young children). Some parents establish a “2-2-3” schedule. In this case, parents have the children for two weekdays each week, while Friday through Sunday are alternated between the households every other week. It is up to the court to determine which schedule is most appropriate for the children—unless the parents can agree to a schedule before bringing the issue to court.