Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: What is a 2-2-3 and 2-2-5 parenting schedule, and which one is right for my family?

Parents who practice equal parenting time commonly choose between a  2-2-3 and 2-2-5 parenting schedule. Under a 2-2-3 schedule, beginning with Week #1, Parent A has the children overnight for the first two days of the week, and Parent B has the children overnight for the following two days. Parent A then has the children overnight for the next three days, which includes the weekend and concludes Week #1. The children spend the first two overnights of Week #2 with Parent B, followed by two overnights with Parent A. Finally, the children return to Parent B, who has the children for three overnights, including the weekend and concluding Week #2. The schedule then repeats itself by returning to Week #1. Here is a visual aid for this schedule:


 2-2-3 Mon. Tues. Weds. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Week 1 A A B B A A A
Week 2 B B A A B B B


Under a 2-2-5 schedule, Parent A has the children overnight every Monday and Tuesday, and Parent B has the children overnight every Wednesday and Thursday. The parents rotate who has the children overnight Friday through Sunday. This means that each parent will have the children five nights in a row every other week (three days Friday-Sunday + the parent’s regular two days on either Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday). Here is a visual aid for this schedule:


 2-2-5 Mon. Tues. Weds. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Week 1 A A B B A A A
Week 2 A A B B B B B


There are many things to consider when choosing which schedule works best for your family. Under a 2-2-3 schedule, the maximum time children would go without seeing one parent is three days, whereas the maximum time under the 2-2-5 schedule is five days.  Families with pre-school-age children and younger often gravitate to a 2-2-3 schedule because many young children have a hard time adjusting to a schedule in which they go without seeing one parent for more than a few days at a time. Additionally, compared to older children, younger children generally have more weekday flexibility that make frequent mid-week transitions between parents not a big deal.


Families with school-age children regularly choose a 2-2-5 schedule. This is partly because a 2-2-5 schedule provides children with more predictability and is easier to plan around since each parent has the children on specific days of the week, every week. For example, a child will learn to expect to be with Dad on Mondays and Tuesdays and Mom on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This schedule can also help parents plan for and keep track of a child’s weekly activities, such as if a child plays basketball every Tuesday and his or her father is the coach. Finally, there is less back-and-forth between parents under a 2-2-5 schedule, which may be preferable to parents and children who lead hectic lives during the school week.


These schedules are far from the only options, and, importantly, they are malleable. For example, parents who prefer the certainty of a 2-2-5 schedule but are concerned about going five days without seeing their children could build in a small capsule of time during the other parent’s five-day parenting time. Returning to the earlier example, under a 2-2-5 schedule, Parents A and B could agree that they each are entitled to take the children to dinner one evening during the other’s five-day parenting time (i.e., Parent A may take the children to dinner on Thursday nights, and Parent B may take the children to dinner on Sunday nights).


Transitioning from seeing your children every day to an equal parenting schedule may feel overwhelming. Ultimately, the mantra we try to instill in all our parents is quality over quantity. Children do not count the number of hours or number of nights they spend with each parent; children care most about spending quality time with both parents and feeling like their relationship with each is nurturing and consistent. The best thing you can do for your children is develop a schedule with your co-parent that has your children’s best interest in mind.