Every Other Weekend – Song Blog

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The song: Every Other Weekend

How you know it: Every Other Weekend was originally recorded by Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney for Reba’s 2007 duet’s album. The song was co-written by Skip Ewing. Versions with both Kenny and Ewing were released to radio, but for most of the song’s climb through the charts, Reba was the only credited artist. She basically divorced both duet partners while getting them to sing a song about divorce with her.

The song peaked at four on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart, which means it was the fourth song away from being included in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

The story behind the song: The story tells the story of a divorced couple who share custody of their children. The song’s mother has primary custody of their children while their dad has their children, “every other weekend.” Towards the end of the song, each parent admits they secretly love the other parent but are afraid to say anything to the other. 

Bonus fact: The parents in the song’s music video are Jonna Garcia and Steve Howey, who co-starred on Reba’s TV show “Reba”.

The song brings up several points about child custody after a divorce, which is also known as “parenting time.”

What is the typical custody plan in Idaho during a divorce?

There isn’t a typical custody plan in Idaho. Each case is different and parents and the court should take into account the age of the children, each parent’s relationship with the children, each parent’s work schedule, each parent’s living arrangements, and how far away the parents live from each other. 

I often hear parents say, “We’ll do the typical custody schedule,” and I explain there isn’t a typical parenting plan and ask parents what they think the typical parenting plan is. The answers vary by every couple. Another thing I hear a lot is, “We want to do a 50/50 custody schedule.” I always follow that statement up with, “What does 50/50 look like to you?” Answers include every other weekend, every other week, and all sorts of other possible arrangements. 

Is Idaho a 50/50 custody state?

Idaho Law has a strong preference for joint physical custody, which allows children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, but this is not the same as 50/50. 

50/50 is a great place to start with respect to a custody arrangement. The best interest of the children standard takes into account several factors, but oftentimes, it’s the practical impacts of the situation that dictates the parenting schedule more than the court or statute. For example, I once had a client who insisted on having his children every other week. He lived in the same town as his soon-to-be ex-wife, which is where his children also went to school. But he worked about an hour away and had to be there at 6 a.m. every morning. There just wasn’t a practical way for him to be to work on time every day and to have the kids ready for school without disrupting their schedule by having them wake up and go to mom’s house or a child care provider for three hours before school every day.  

Why do dad’s get less custody than moms in Idaho?

A recent study shows that fathers in Idaho are likely to receive about 24 percent of parenting time in Idaho. This is one of the lowest rates in the nation. 

But despite this statistic, I don’t have the opinion that Idaho favors mothers over dads in divorce. I’ve never seen anything in court to indicate this or heard a judge say anything that would give me this impression. I’ve actually had several judges ask if dad wants a 50/50 arrangement or ask why that wasn’t the arrangement in cases where dad has an every other weekend plan.

After practicing law in Idaho for more than eight years, I believe the courts look for solutions that will cause the least amount of disruption to the lives of the children involved. It’s been my experience that judges do not like to force major changes on kids without a really good reason to do so. The reality is that in a lot of homes, moms seem to do a great deal of the things when it comes to raising children. In addition, I’ve had a lot of clients who have been in the Air Force, who have been truck drivers, or have other jobs that require them to travel a lot. A lot of moms have jobs that are built around their kids’ schedules or are even stay-at-home moms.

Not all moms. I know a lot of moms who work. My mom was a single mother of four children. She went to work every day, sometimes she went to multiple jobs in the same day. But overall, dads seem to have jobs that take them out of the home and moms seem to either have jobs that account for their kids’ schedules or keep them in the house most days. 

When the judge has to decide between one parent who has done most of the child raising activities and is home a lot and one parent who travels a lot for work, it’s not that complicated of a decision. But does this mean that the outcome is predetermined to favor moms? I don’t think it does. My brother-in-law has been a stay-at-home dad for several years for my niece. When she was younger, he did most of the things to take care of her while my sister finished her education and started her career. If there were to somehow end up in family court, I have no doubt in my mind that a judge would rule in my brother-in-law’s favor if they weren’t otherwise able to agree to their own parenting plan or a 50/50 parenting plan. 

Contact Taylor Law & Mediation PLLC today to set up a time to discuss your child custody needs.

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