Types of Parenting Time Schedules

Cindy Best

There are several different types of parenting plans that parties can agree on or the court can enter in cases involving children. Some example parenting plans may include:

  • Equal Parenting Time
  • Non-Equal Parenting Time
  • Long Distance Parenting Time


Equal Parenting Time

Equal parenting time means both parents have equal access to the minor child(ren). This type of parenting time can be exercised on a week on/week off schedule, 5-2-2-5 parenting time schedule and/or a 2-2-3 parenting time schedule. Examples of those schedules are outlined below in the Example Parenting Time Schedules section.

Courts generally start with the presumption of equal parenting time, unless the young age or special needs of a child prevents an equal parenting plan or there are fitness concerns regarding another parent. Fitness concerns can include, but are not limited to, a parent abusing substances, psychological issues of a parent, or a significant history of domestic violence.

Non-Equal Parenting Time

Non-equal parenting time means one parent has more parenting time than the other parent. The parent with more parenting time is identified at the “primary residential parent.” These types of plans can include the primary parent having parenting time during the school week, while the non-primary parent has weekend only parenting time or the non-primary parent has parenting time every other weekend with a mid-week overnight visit, while the primary parent has all the other parenting time.

Parties may enter into these types of parenting plans or the court may order these types of parenting plans in instances where there are fitness concerns, one parent is not capable of working with the child during the school year to complete school work during the week, a parent is not able to care for a child due to their work/travel schedule, or a child has special needs or limitations that prevents the non-primary parent from providing care in the child’s best interests.

Long Distance Parenting Time

Long distance parenting time is a parenting time plan where one parent lives in the State of Arizona and the other parent does not. The other parent may not live in Arizona for work purposes, remarriage, personal reasons, etc. Because the child’s home state is Arizona, the parent living in Arizona will have the benefit of having the child during majority of the parenting time days during the school year. The parent that resides out of state will exercise their parenting time during summer months and other school breaks to make up for the lost parenting time during the school year.

For more information and examples about Parenting Time: http://www.azlawhelp.org/documents/ModelParentingTimeGuide.pdf 

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