What is a 70/30 Custody Schedule in North Carolina?
When a divorcing couple has underage children, determining child custody arrangements is often the most stressful and emotional part of negotiating a separation agreement. In a contentious divorce, child custody decisions can complicate the larger divorce settlement process.
Regardless of how child custody arrangements are determined, the children’s parents must come together to establish a visitation schedule, or a Family Court judge will set one.
An experienced North Carolina child custody attorney can guide the discussions regarding custody and visitation schedules in a constructive manner and seek a fair resolution.
The attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates have found that a 70/30 custody schedule works well for many families in part because it establishes the security of a primary home for the children while providing ample visitation time for the non-custodial parent.
Attorney Charles R. Ullman is a North Carolina State Bar-certified Family Law Specialist. He and his team at Charles R. Ullman & Associates have helped many families establish workable child custody schedules. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs in a confidential consultation.
You can reach us by phone or fill out our online contact form to schedule a time to meet with a family law attorney. We serve clients in Raleigh, Cary, and throughout Wake County.
How Child Custody and Visitation Work in NC
There are two forms of child custody under North Carolina divorce law:
- Physical custody
- Legal custody
The parent with whom the child lives has physical custody of the child. The parent who has physical custody often will also have legal custody. A parent who has legal custody has a right to make major decisions concerning the child’s education, health care, and religious upbringing.
Some parents share joint custody. The child may spend equal amounts of time with each parent, or the amount of time that a parent has the child may be set out in a visitation schedule.
In many cases, parents can work out a visitation agreement outside of court that fits their needs and their child’s needs. When they cannot reach an agreement, the alternative is to have a judge impose a visitation order. The judge will focus on the best interests of the child.
Child custody and visitation schedules can be arranged in any fashion that ensures the best interests of the child. Any plan will require a division of the time a child spends with either parent.
When considering custody arrangements, parents need to think of a young child’s needs today and the flexibility that will be required to accommodate changes in the years ahead.
Some of the issues that must be anticipated and worked out when negotiating a visitation schedule include where the child will spend:
- School recesses during summer or track-out periods
The many considerations about the child’s needs must include each parent’s work schedule and other commitments that may affect their ability to care for the child.
Determining which parent should have custody of a child at what time can become quite complicated when plans for a simple child visitation schedule collide with the realities of life’s day-to-day complexities.
How to Determine Whether a 70/30 Custody Schedule Fits Your Family
A 70/30 child custody schedule grants the primary custodial parent significantly more time (70%) with the child than the other parent gets (30%). It also allows both adults to be involved with their child’s life while minimizing how often a child must move from one parent’s home to the other’s residence.
A 70/30 custody schedule is often a reasonable arrangement when the parents live far apart.
We also have found that a 70/30 parenting schedule is appropriate when:
- The child will benefit from having a consistent home base
- One parent has a complicated work schedule or travels frequently
- Both parents want to be involved with the child, but a workable 50/50 or 60/40 schedule isn’t possible.
Of course, a 70/30 custody split works best when parents agree that it is the most appropriate schedule to ensure that they continue to provide a lifestyle that is best for their child.
How Many Overnights Do I Have in a 70/30 Custody Schedule?
A straightforward implementation of a 70/30 child custody schedule would give the non-custodial parent two overnight visitations per week. This arrangement – two days out of seven – provides 29% of the week for visitation, pretty close to the 70/30 split.
Because midweek sleepovers would be too disruptive for a school-age child, two days’ visitation would give the non-custodial parent every weekend with the child (Friday night through Sunday evening), which is not practical. This leads to the every-other-weekend schedule that many divorced parents who share custody settle upon.
But Friday night through Monday morning every other week is only three overnights in 14 days. So, a 70/30 custody arrangement requires additional visitation time. This can be written off by the non-custodial parent or resolved by adding a Thursday (or Monday) night stay every second visit – once a month, roughly.
But once again we cut into the school week. This is usually less of an issue for older children or as a child grows used to moving between homes. Additionally, spreading out longer visits can be beneficial for children who are less tolerant of extended periods away from their primary parent.
For very young children, four single nights away from their primary parent (usually their mother) spread over two weeks is a better arrangement than full weekends if the non-custodial parent insists on overnight stays. The upside of planning toddler visitations is that weekdays are as good as weekends if it works for the parents.
From the discussion above, you can see how quickly complications arise when planning shared custody visitations. It gets even more complex when holidays, track-out periods, and summer vacations are part of the schedule and visitations must be scheduled around sports or other extra-curricular activities.
Help with Child Custody and Visitation Schedules
If you and your spouse are already talking about a 70/30 child custody schedule, this shows that you both already understand and accept the need for compromise as you develop a separation agreement.
At Charles R. Ullman Associates, our child custody lawyers work to help our clients work with their spouses and their legal representatives to develop custody agreements that prove to be beneficial for each child and the family as a whole.
We have found that doing the detailed work necessary to come to specific arrangements, such as a 70/30 custody plan, minimizes disagreements down the road.
Because each child is unique and every family is different, a child custody agreement should not be a cookie-cutter arrangement; it needs to clearly and specifically address your family’s existing and anticipated needs.
Charles R. Ullman is a North Carolina State Bar-certified Family Law Specialist and has helped many parents throughout Wake County develop longstanding child custody agreements.
Our goal is to help you and your estranged spouse come to an agreement on a suitable child custody plan that serves the child’s best interests, whatever that may be. Should your case go to court, we know your rights under our state’s child custody laws and how to use them to protect your interests.
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on the terms of child custody or other issues, the court will likely direct you to attend mediation to try to reach an agreement. Mediators are neutral third parties who are trained to help parents discuss their child’s needs, find points of agreement to build upon, and reach a resolution if possible.
During mediation, your attorney can offer you legal advice and make sure that any agreement protects your legal rights. Mediation is not binding, but many mediation sessions result in a workable resolution.
At Charles R. Ullman Associates, we can help you pursue your goals for child custody and visitation arrangements in a divorce.
Get Help from Our Raleigh Child Custody Attorneys Now
The Raleigh child custody lawyers of Charles R. Ullman & Associates are compassionate attorneys who are dedicated to securing child custody and visitation arrangements that serve the needs of children and their parents.
Whether facilitating discussions, assisting in mediation, or representing clients in contentious divorces in family law court, the attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates have the skill and experience necessary to help you work through the many details of a child custody agreement.
Call us today or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation.