4-3 Custody and Visitation Schedules
A 4-3 custody rotation is a simple way to share parenting time 60/40. In this scenario, one parent will have physical custody four days a week, and the other parent will have physical custody three days a week.
Like all parenting time arrangements, a 4-3 custody schedule (also called 60 40 custody) can have both its advantages and its drawbacks. To give you an idea of how a 4-3 rotation works, here are some details you should know as you consider whether this type of schedule could work for your family.
Advantages of a 4-3 custody schedule
Not to be confused with a 3-3-4-4 custody schedule which is a 50/50-type arrangement, a 4-3 or 60 40 custody schedule is an arrangement where a child spends 60% of their time with one parent and 40% of their time with the other parent.
The 60 40 plan is a way of splitting time for families where one parent has more time to dedicate to care for their child during the week than the other parent.
This type of custody or visitation schedule can be tailored to numerous situations. Some co-parents use this type of schedule to allow one co-parent to have a weekend custody schedule, while the other has custody during the week.
For families whose schedules aren't as regular each week, some co-parents will mix-and-match their weeks so that they have time with their child for part of the workweek and also for part of the weekend. The flexibility that a 4-3 custody rotation gives parents makes it work for many families, even those who can't always stick to a routine based on the day of the week.
A 60 40 custody schedule allows a child to see both of their parents frequently. This can be a great advantage for children who have a difficult time being away from either parent for too long, as may be the case with younger kids. Also, only two parenting time exchanges a week can make the transitions a bit easier to manage.
Disadvantages of a 4-3 custody schedule
Like all different parenting time arrangements, a 4-3 custody schedule is not for all families. Specifically, it works best for those splitting time 60/40. Parents who plan to share parenting time using a different ratio may find that an arrangement tuned to their parenting time percentages will work best.
A 4-3 custody schedule works better if parents live relatively close to one another so that the transition between homes doesn't take too long and interrupt a child's school or extracurriculars schedule. If the drive is far enough to interrupt everyone's day quite a bit, then a different rotation may be a better fit.
For younger children and school-aged children 60 40 schedules might not be conducive to stability.
To recap, advantages of a 4-3 or 60 40 custody schedule include:
- Both parents spend time with their children each week
- Flexibility to change which days of the week each parent spend with their child
- Limited parenting time transitions each week
- Co-parents can have extended weekends
The disadvantages of a 4-3 custody schedule include:
- Can be difficult for parents who live far apart
- Not always beneficial for younger children or school-aged children
- Not ideal for families whose parenting time ratios are not split 60/40
- May allow for more flexibility than a family is comfortable with
Planning your parenting schedule
Translating a 4-3 custody schedule into a custody calendar is usually very simple, but getting used to the change from your schedule before a divorce can be tough. The OurFamilyWizard website® is helping co-parents to solve this problem by offering easy-to-use tools such as the OFW Calendar. The OFW Calendar allows co-parents to track their custody schedule easily. For more information on these tools and resources, please visit our Features page.
NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.
Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.