Parenting time bracket

Parenting time bracket

By:  Daniel Findling (c) 2015

Most people are familiar with a sports bracket but what about a parenting time bracket?  A sports bracket often accompanies a tournament and is a tree diagram matching different teams in a tournament such as the NCAA basketball tournament.


A parenting time bracket can be used to help formalize parenting time schedules in divorce and custody cases.  A parenting time bracket is used to help graphically formulate a parenting time schedule.

It is not uncommon for lawyers to count overnights.  After all, child support varies greatly with the number of overnights awarded to each parent.  In referencing overnights, it is not uncommon to hear something like “that is 5 out of 14 overnights”.  “5 out of 14” means in a two week period, one parent is awarded 5 out of 14 overnights and the other parent is awarded 9 overnights in the same two week period.  A parenting time bracket would describe the same situation graphically.

4 out of 14

Dad has Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday overnight in week one and Wednesday overnight in week 2 totaling 5 out of 14 overnights.  (Note:  The graphic incorrectly identifies the bracket as 4/14 it is 5/14).

An equal parenting time schedule can be as simple as one week for Dad followed by one week for Mom.  A more common Michigan equal parenting time schedule would be a “2-2-3”  schedule.  A parenting time bracket would describe the same equal parenting time schedule as follows:


In week one, Dad has Monday and Tuesday overnight (2); Mom has Wednesday and Thursday overnight (2); followed by Dad having the weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday overnight (3).

In week two, Mom has Monday and Tuesday overnight (2); Dad has Wednesday and Thursday overnight (2); followed by Mom having the weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday overnight (3).

The parenting time bracket helps lawyers and clients examine various parenting time schedules in a clear, concise and graphical manner.

You can copy, share, save, and print the image below to create your own parenting time bracket.


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By:  Daniel Findling

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