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How can a parent’s work affect their custody case?

For many people, their career is an important aspect of their life. Perhaps they have their dream job running their own business. Or they recently got the promotion they wanted.

Individuals often devote a considerable amount of time and energy to their work – whether out of joy or necessity. However, their work schedule can be an important factor when allocating parental responsibilities.

Parents must factor work commitments into their custody arrangement

When it comes to allocating parental responsibilities, Illinois family courts strive to ensure that parents are able to be present for their children. And there are some cases when a parent’s work might prevent that, such as:

  • One parent must travel frequently for work;
  • They work the night shift or varying hours; or
  • They must be on call for work.

If an individual’s work demands so much of their time, it could impact their efforts in pursuing equal parenting time. Even though parents might be able to arrange for caregivers in these situations, such as if they were called into work, family courts generally prefer parenting time to be spent with the child’s parent – not a caregiver.

After all, during one’s parenting time, it is their responsibility to meet their child’s needs. And parents might not be able to do this effectively if they have an unreliable work schedule.

Therefore, parents must consider the logistics of their work schedule, and evaluate how it could affect their parenting time commitments and custody arrangement.

What can parents do in this situation?

This is not all to say that sharing parenting responsibilities is not a possibility for working parents. While a parent’s work schedule is a critical factor to consider when deciding a custody arrangement, it is by far not the only one. For example, a busy work schedule does not make someone an unfit parent.

In these cases, parents should:

  • Carefully evaluate their duties and responsibilities at work;
  • Speak with the child’s other parent to negotiate a realistic, but flexible co-parenting schedule; and
  • Ensure that the arrangement prioritizes the child’s best interests.

Every family is different, and some parents might be able to make 50/50 custody work even with a busy work schedule. However, they must ensure that they create a custody arrangement that works best for the whole family.