Joel W. Anders, P.C.
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Is the 80-20 parenting schedule right for you?

Separated Washington, D.C., parents use a variety of strategies to divide their parenting time. Some opt for a 50-50 plan of time-sharing while others opt for a 60-40 or 80-20 plan. All of these plans are valid, but depending on your and your family's situation, one may be more appropriate than another.

Let's take a closer look at the 80-20 plan. For whom might this plan work best? In what kind of situations would this plan be applicable?

Factors that indicate a 80-20 plan is appropriate for your family

Here are few parental circumstances that could make the 80-20 plan work well for a divided family:

  • Your child is more emotionally secure and happier when he or she lives in just one home.
  • The parents live a fairly long distance away from one another, making child custody exchanges burdensome.
  • One parent was always the child's primary caretaker.
  • One parent has an unusual or busy work schedule that may involve a lot of travel, or lots of time away from home.
  • A more equal parenting schedule won't work for the parents due to any number of reasons.
  • Both parents feel that the 80-20 split is best.

The parent with the children most the time will have more responsibility

When agreeing to an 80-20 split, it's important for the parent who will have the children 80 percent of the time to remember that he or she is taking on a big responsibility that could be exhausting at times. This parent may want to keep the option available to — at times — give the other parent more time with the children. This kind of flexibility can be built into your 80-20 plan. and will allow the other parent to be more involved.

Another way that the 20 percent parent can be more involved with his or her children is to conduct frequent and regular ''virtual visits.'' This permits the parent to video and chat and text message with his or her children to maintain the parental connection.

What parenting schedule is right for you?

No two family circumstances will ever be the same. It's therefore important that you review your and your family's situations and needs carefully to create a customized parenting plan that satisfies your unique requirements.

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