Divorce is tough on everyone, and for spouses whose career responsibilities may limit the time they spend with their children, custody arrangements can seem unfair. In Texas, child custody is called conservatorship and can be shared between both parents as a joint managing conservatorship, or granted to only one in a sole managing conservatorship.
Whether one or both parents works post-divorce, one of the greatest concerns is having to give up quality time with the children. Even when parents come up with an arrangement that allows them both to share co-parenting responsibilities equally, the demands of a stressful job can put these plans at risk.
How can I maximize my time with the children?
There are effective strategies that breadwinning parents can use to make the most of the custody arrangements they have been granted. Some of these are outlined below.
- Think of what is best for the children.
Don’t try to win. Negotiating for more time with the children should happen only if a parent can actually realize that plan. If a parent wants the kids on weekday overnighters, will they have time to get them ready in the morning, make them breakfast and maybe lunch, and make work arrangements if they get sick or have a day off from school? It is better to commit to what is realistically possible.
- Negotiate for more flexibility at work.
Being open with management or partners about your need for more flexibility with work hours or deadlines post-divorce not only pro-actively addresses this life change, it helps co-workers and superiors know what they can count on you to do. Corporate culture is now more receptive to employees’ need to balance work and home life.
- Both spouses should play by the same rules.
When a stay-at-home spouse claims that he or she is better set up to take care of the children, but then hires a nanny, the argument does not hold much water. When the breadwinning spouse needs to hire a sitter on occasion, they must be allowed the same leeway.
- Always think of what is best for the children.
The courts will consider what is in the best interest of the children when awarding custodial responsibilities. The court does not always award full custody to the stay-at-home parent anymore.
A breadwinner who can show the judge of his or her intentions and make realistic commitments to caring for the children will offer a convincing argument for sharing custody. Having experienced counsel who will look out for yours and your children’s best interest can make the difference.