Many parents undergoing divorce worry about losing quality time with their children regardless of whether they are the sole breadwinner or part of a household with two incomes.
Typically, a stay-at-home parent, or one with a less demanding career, will receive primary physical custody of a child and argue that they deserve more parenting time because they have been the primary caregiver.
Make adjustments to increase parenting time
Just because your job is more demanding, it doesn’t mean you have to give up cherished time with your children. When making your case, consider these actions:
- Make your children the priority: Custody negotiations shouldn’t be about winning, but rather doing what’s best for your children, which includes having both parents in their lives. If you commit to having the children on weekdays, make sure you can handle their daily routine.
- Be honest about time commitments: Some parents set themselves up for failure by overestimating how much they can do to care for their children while working. Don’t promise to take the children for overnights when you know you are working late or traveling.
- Be pro-active handling after-school duties: Work out a reliable system for school pickup and child care until you get home and can take over. More judges are considering these arrangements, allowing more weekday parenting time for those without physical custody.
- Be upfront with your boss: Talk to your company about having flexibility in your schedule to spend more time with your children, such as needing to leave early on certain days to pick them up after school or attend sporting events and other extracurricular activities.
- Play by the same rules: If you set up a system for school pickup and child care so you can spend more time with your children during the week, give your former spouse the same leeway, even though they may have physical custody.
Choose a plan that puts your children first
Child custody disputes can be among the most emotional and contentious issues that arise during a divorce. However, both parents can relieve much of that tension and anger by doing what’s best for their children and negotiating in good faith to reach an agreement that works for everyone.