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How the Freeman Order Relates to Child Custody

Creating a Plan for Timesharing

If a parent is not awarded a timeshare with their child that is significant (usually 40-50%), then it is normal for them to be awarded a detailed, specifically stated timeshare. Applying this concept, however, can be difficult for a child who wants to see their child as much as possible. Some time ago, a court case occurred that ended up creating a starting framework for crafting a basic timesharing plan. Here’s what you should know.

Timeshare Basics

California Family Code says very little about creating a specific timeshare plan other than both parents should have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents. This policy is generally interpreted to mean that a noncustodial parent should be awarded the maximum possible time with their child, provided that this time serves the best interests of the child and does not conflict with the time awarded to the other parent.

While the ideal time per parent would amount to a 50/50 split, this goal is not automatically established due to the split’s often interference with the child’s education, development, or stability.

Where the Freeman Order Comes In

A court case some time ago established a basic plan for noncustodial parent visitation that eventually became adopted as a standard timeshare order. This is often referred to as the Freeman Order after the judicial officer who created the plan. The order establishes the following guidelines for noncustodial parent timeshare:

  • Weekends alternate between the parents. Weekends start on Friday at 6:00pm and end on Sunday at 6:00pm.

  • The non-custodial parent receives one mid-week dinner (or overnight) visit.

  • The parents split holidays equally, often alternating year-to-year. For example, if one parent is given time with the child on Christmas during an odd-numbered year, then the other parent will spend Christmas with the child in an even-numbered year.

  • Both parents are given two uninterrupted weeks of time with the child during the summertime.

  • The parents split school vacations equally, such as Christmas break or spring break. This may manifest itself in a year-to-year split similar to holidays.

Note that this plan has moved from the “standard” order to what is now a mere starting point when parents discuss timeshare arrangements. The advantage of this plan is the amount of flexibility given when working with this schedule as a reasonable timeshare schedule is arranged.

Enlist the Help of a California Custody Attorney

When crafting a parenting plan involving timeshare, it is important to have a custody attorney by your side. Their knowledge of the California Family Code coupled with their skills in negotiation and communication can help you craft a parenting plan that is beneficial to you and serves the best interests of your child. At Feinberg & Waller, APC our certified family law specialists are available to help you work through the difficulties of a custody case and assist you in reaching a resolution.


To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, contact our office at (844) 252-1140 or visit us online.

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