Separated or divorced parents now have no shortage of ideas for child visitation arrangements. Child custody schedules are being generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and can account for factors such as distance to school and child ages.

Challenge of Finding a Good Custody Schedule

It used to be that separating parents were simply told to use custody arrangements such as “every other weekend” or “week about”. These sorts of custody schedules are easy to understand and explain.

The simplicity of traditional custody schedules may be why such crude arrangements tend to be put forward by lawyers and judges. Actually figuring out the best custody schedule for a fractured family is a complex task.

To find the ideal schedule, you really need to establish the development stage of the child or children. The frequency of visits is also limited by how easy or difficult it is for a child to move between homes. And, to make matters even more complicated, the schedule should adjust over time, changing for milestones such as kids starting school or becoming teenagers.

Technology for Making Custody Schedules

Technology is now coming to the aid of separated parents. AI software developed by Timtab allows parents to easily and quickly generate custody schedules.

To create your own schedule online, all you have to do is enter details such as child birth dates, when school starts, and how many minutes parents live from school and each other. From that information, Timtab is able to produce an optimized schedule that balances the need for a child to see both parents with the logistical challenge of living across two homes.

Of course, technology can’t account for everything. That’s why the software allows for numerous customization options. For example, you can choose how many nights a child spends with each parent per fortnight. That allows different types of schedules to be generated, such as 50/50 custody, 60/40 and 70/30.

Why Having a Good Visitation Plan Matters

According to Timtab’s founder, Dr Andrew Lancaster, “Getting the right custody schedules in place is vital to the long-term wellbeing of children. Too many parent-child relationships are damaged by visitation arrangements that are simple to follow but which create regular long absences from one or both parents.”

Coming up with an age-appropriate visitation is something the scheduling technology can help out with. For babies, visits away from the mother or other primary carer can be limited to a matter of hours. The recommended schedules for toddlers and other pre-school children typically have absences from the primary care of no more than a night or two at a time.

Getting the balance right between travel practicality and visit frequency can help avoid psychological problems for kids. Cruz Santana observes that “For an infant or toddler, 24 hours away from their primary caregiver would probably seem like a long time. A full weekend could feel like an eternity. An age-inappropriate custody schedule therefore has the potential to impede the child’s ability to properly attach to one or both parents.

As children get older, of course the need to stay in close contact with parents diminishes. The custody schedule examples at reflect this. For teenagers, recommended schedules may consist of alternating blocks of two or three nights with each parent. For the summer months, a popular schedule is to have a changeover each Saturday morning, meaning a week at a time is spent with each parent.