Child Custody and Parenting Time for Uncommon Work Schedules

Uncontested Divorce Mediation

Posted April 19, 2023

The most common Denver child custody arrangements are on a routine schedule based on weeks and weekends. While the old ‘every other weekend’ style is falling out of fashion in favor of more equal parenting time, we are also seeing an evolution in how child custody schedules are built to handle unconventional work schedules.

child custody attorney Denver

If you are a divorcing parent worried about getting fair parenting time with a work schedule that does not follow your typical 5-on, 2-off week or 9-5 schedule, you will be relieved to know that Colorado family law is on your side. You don’t need a Denver child custody lawyer to defend your interests as long as you have an understanding divorce mediator who is skilled in building customized child custody structures.

Visitation is Outdates: Colorado Custody is Measured in Parenting Time

The first and often most relieving fact is that primary custody and visitation are now considered outdated concepts. Most states, Colorado included, now focus on building parenting plans that provide fair parenting time based on the conditions of the family. If both parents have a good relationship with their children, are involved in their lives, and desires to stay involved, then a fair parenting plan will be built as part of the your Denver child custody agreement.

Parenting time prioritizes time that children spend with each parent based on what is possible and reasonable for the family. This can result in a primary custody parent and visitation, but more often it involves children who live in two houses – often for equal or near-equal amounts of time.

Colorado is Not a 50/50 Custody State

50/50 custody is preferred by many states as the optimal way to provide equal parenting time and minimze the need for child support payments. However, Colorado does not require you to achieve a perfect 50/50 balance. This gives divorcing families more room to arrange schedules based on what works and what provides the best overall experience for the children.

Uncommon Work Schedules Can Fit Into Parenting Plan Structures

For parents with an uncommon or irregular work schedule, the new parenting time approach means that you can and should build a unique parenting plan with your Denver child custody agreement. There are, in fact, many different parenting plan models available that display how an unusual schedule can fit into equal or near-equal parenting time. 

These are typically labeled by the days-with-parent patterns.

7-7 Alternating Weeks

With alternating weeks, parents choose a day to swap and keep children for the entire week, making arrangements for work and home time as needed. This schedule works best for older kids who know they will spend some time at home without the parent no matter what the schedule looks like.


This schedule splits a week into 2-day segments, then splits the second week down the middle. It’s a popular method that gives both parents access to a child’s full schedule including school and weekends.


This schedule swaps children every other afternoon. It is best for younger children who don’t yet go to school so they see both parents frequently, and miss neither parent for more than two days at a time.


This schedule accommodates three- and four-day blocks for unusual or split off-days. It begins with four days to one parent, then three to the other, then one day, then one day. The first parent’s time begins on the first day of a four-day off period.


This schedule accommodates an 18-day rotation providing the first parent with three days, then four days to the second parent, then one day, then one day, and the first parent’s time begins on the first day of the rotation so that parents alternate who gets the four-day split.

Custom and Unique Schedules

You can also build a specific schedule based on known work demands, and set a caveat to review the schedule at predetermined or on request intervals to ensure it matches any changes you may experience.

Customizing Hand-Off Times for Your Work Schedule

Most parenting plans indicate a hand-off tie of 3PM, when the child gets off from school. But this isn’t set in stone. Parents with unique or offset work schedules may benefit from an early morning hand-off time, or alternating times if your schedule swings around the clock. While your ex may be resistant to a chaotic-seeming schedule, the right parenting plan can help lock in a more predictable routine that accommodates both your unusual work timing and a well-structured schedule for everyone involved.

Denver Divorce Mediators Offer the Best Customization for Uncommon Custody Schedules

A courtroom is not the best place to debate the nuances of parenting plan scheduling. Typically courtroom divorces want to streamline the process by picking a plan and moving forward. If your work schedule requires a more tailored approach to building a Denver child custody agreement, divorce mediation is your best answer.

A divorce mediator is someone who is knowledgeable to Colorado divorce and child custody law, and may be a Denver child custody lawyer. However, their goal as a mediator is to hammer out a custom divorce agreement that provides the most support for everyone in the family.

Denver divorce mediation gives you time to sit down, share the details of your situation, and build a parenting plan that will provide both parents with the most parenting time and all children with the most enriching experience.

Building a Unique Parenting Plan with Divorce Mediation

To build a unique parenting plan with your Denver divorce mediation start by having both parents bring their work schedules into the mediation session. Discuss the ages and independence of your children to that time spent alone (or with the older babysitting the younger) can be accounted for. From there, your divorce mediator will adapt a parenting plan schedule to meet your specific needs.

If you have a changing schedule, you may build an agreement that helps to balance parenting time while still providing children with stability. If your schedule is based on an 18-day rotation, or with mid-week off days, this can be built into a well-structured parenting plan that gives you the maximum quality time with your children while providing fair parenting time to both parents.

Build a Parenting Plan That Meets Your Family’s Needs with Split Simple

At Split Simple, our top priority is building divorce agreements that uplift everyone in the family. We will help you build a custom-tailored divorce and Denver child custody agreement that provides financial and parental stability with a system that works for your unique circumstances and family structure. Contact Split Simple today to consult on your first Denver divorce mediation session.

Split Simple

1624 Market Street #202

Denver, CO 80202