Every Weekend vs. 2-2-3 Schedule in Custody

A 2-2-3 custody schedule is just one of the many terms you may need to decode once you begin your co-parenting journey. Many parents use this schedule to get into a shared parenting routine that allows kids to feel like they see each parent consistently. If you're in the process of ironing out your custody agreement and considering a 2-2-3 schedule, here are some helpful basics and tips to make it work.

Definition of a 2-2-3 Schedule

A 2-2-3 custody schedule means that children are with one parent for two days, then with the other parent for two days. Next, the children will return to the first parent for three days; then they are with the other parent for three days. In a 50/50 parenting time arrangement, 2-2-3 schedule custody rotation allows children to see each parent frequently.

Every Weekend Schedule

Another 50/50 parenting time arrangement is the every weekend rotation. In this model, children live with one parent on weekdays then live with their other parent on weekends. The time that a child spends at school is not counted as parenting time, so this arrangement is crafted to allow equal one-on-one time between parents and their children.

These two custody rotations can make a great fit for some, but they may not fit every situation. Consider these benefits and downsides to 2-2-3 custody and every weekend rotations.

Benefits to a 2-2-3 schedule vs. every weekend custody arrangement

The 2-2-3 custody schedule may sound complex at first, but it can be a great option for co-parents who are implementing a 50/50 custody agreement. This type of custody schedule is considered an alternating schedule, meaning that co-parent’s schedules will alternate every week.

A consistent schedule such as this gives parents an opportunity to plan for when they will and won't have their children.

A 2-2-3 custody schedule rotation can be a particularly good fit for parents who live close enough to each other that it's easy for children to move between homes.

For example, if parents live in the same school district, children who ride the bus to and from school could take a different bus to each parent's house on days that they rotate. If they don't take the bus, parents who still live near each other should have an easier time moving their kids between homes since the drive won't be so long. 

Every weekend custody schedule

Alternatively, an every weekend custody schedule can be a good option for parents who may not live very close to one another. If parents don't live within the same school district, it isn't easy for kids to take the bus to get to both of their homes, nor may it be feasible for a parent to take the time to drive between their home and the other parent's if it's not a simple trip.

An every weekend schedule gives the parent who lives a bit further away an opportunity to spend quality time with their children.

Although an every weekend schedule gives one parent fewer days of parenting time in a row, weekends during the school year allow for plenty of time for a parent and their children to spend together.

The other parent who has them for more days during the week will have the time before and after school to spend with their children directly, so in theory, each parent's time with their children will be split evenly. Therefore, this can be a great arrangement specifically during the school year.

Downsides to a 2-2-3 schedule vs. every weekend rotation

These parenting time arrangements may not be a great fit for certain families for different reasons. For example, the ages and development of the children is one factor that could impact these arrangements.

Older children who are busy with extracurriculars, challenging homework assignments, or after school jobs may find a 2-2-3 rotation stressful to manage among all of the other things going on during their day. On the other hand, young children may be able to handle frequent rotations if they have less going on before and after school. 

With every weekend rotations, the reverse may be true. Older children may be better able to manage moving between homes over the weekends, finding that it works better with their busy schedules. Younger children, however, may crave seeing both of their parents with more frequency and have a difficult time emotionally with an every weekend arrangement. 

Another downside to a 2-2-3 rotation is that with such frequent movement, it can be hard for children always to have their bags packed and ready to move between homes.

In this situation, it may be easier to manage the rotations if both parent's homes are equipped with everything their children need to feel comfortable. This can mean that your children have two separate wardrobes, two toothbrushes, two sets of toys, etc.

This may also be helpful in an every weekend rotation, but in this arrangement, children may have more time to prepare their things before moving between homes. They may feel less stress surrounding packing than those in a 2-2-3 arrangement may feel. 

The pros and cons of these parenting time arrangements will vary between different families, and these issues may not factor in for every family. However, it's worth carefully considering different angles of each rotation before deciding on an arrangement. 

Pros and Cons of a 2-2-3 custody schedule

To review, the benefits and downsides of a 2-2-3 schedule arrangement can be: 

  • Children see each parent with more frequency
  • Works well when parents live near each other
  • Frequent transitions can be hard on busier or older children
  • Can be difficult when parents who do not live near each other 
  • Parents may need to purchase items to prep their home with everything their children need

The benefits and downsides of an every weekend arrangement can be:

  • Can be a good arrangement during the school year
  • Fewer rotations can be less stressful for busy families
  • Doesn't work well if parents do not live very close to one another
  • Children see one parent with less frequency
  • Families may consider changing their arrangement during summer break

Organizing your own physical custody schedule

Organizing 2-2-3 rotation or every weekend custody schedules can sometimes be confusing for co-parents since there are so many points where the child must alternate between the households. It’s important to try to get into the routine as quickly and easily as possible.

The OurFamilyWizard website® Calendar is a useful tool for putting these plans into action. With the fully customizable calendar tool, you can create clear documentation of your every weekend or 2-2-3 rotation schedules to share between your homes.

When deciding on a custody rotation for your family, carefully consider which routine will work best for your family and bring any questions or concerns to your trusted family law practitioners. They will be able to offer practical tips and helpful guidance that is tuned to your family's specific situation.


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.