Can Your Job Affect Your Child Custody Agreement?As every coparent knows, child support and child custody can be contentious issues in a divorce. Most of the arguments and tension revolve around how much a parent will pay, or how much time a parent will spend with the child. In some cases, however, how a parent earns money can be a source of tension, too, when it comes to child custody. And while honest work should never be used as an indicator of one’s ability to parent, there may be times where it creates some issues.

Today, our Franklin child custody attorneys want to talk a bit about how a parent’s job could affect the outcome when it comes to parenting time, and what your options are if your work is not the typical 9-to-5 job. If you have questions or concerns about your own child custody order, contact us for help.

Child custody when you are out of work

Self-employed individuals and independent contractors have periods where they work and then down periods where they do not. This constant flux can have a significant impact on a custody schedule, but you cannot lose custody for being out of work. That’s not how child custody works.

For example, say you are a construction worker; you work on projects that may last weeks or even months, and then you are laid off for a month or so. You cannot lose custody because of this schedule. What you can do, though, is create two different schedules: one for periods of layoff and another for periods of work.

Can an erratic work schedule affect my child custody?

Custody would work differently for parents who have erratic schedules. Not everyone works a desk job from 9 am to 5 pm. For example, if you work the night shift and sleep the majority of the day, your ex may try to argue that you will be unable to care for the child, or that he or she should have a greater share of the parenting time. While the work schedule can affect how custody schedules are made, it will not be the sole factor in who can have physical custody. There are many cases where a third shift worker can retain custody of their children. The same is true for EMS, firefighters, medical personnel, law enforcement, and other career paths that may require swing shifts, or 4 days on/ 3 days off schedules.

Will needing daycare count against me in a child custody arrangement?

Not at all. You, like many parents, may have established a parenting arrangement that requires the child to be in daycare when both parents are at work. However, say one parent is temporarily out of work, and wants to have custody of the child during that time, rather than playing for daycare. If both parties agree, you can make this arrangement. Be mindful to work with your Franklin child custody attorney to ensure you are not going against any predetermined agreement.

Does working fewer hours mean more parenting time?

You may assume that since you work fewer hours, you are entitled to more time with your child. While work schedules are significant keys in determining a child custody arrangement, they are not the only factors. If it is in your child’s best interest to spend more time with you, then the court may grant you more parenting time. However, if it is not best for the child, you will not get more parenting time. You cannot intentionally lose your job to spend more time with your child, either.

What if my work requires a lot of travel?

Another scenario that can affect parenting time is if one parent travels for work. While this may not have been an area of contention during the marriage, it definitely will be now. How much travel the other parent does, affects how the schedule will change. It may not be a huge issue if the parent only travels sporadically. However, if the parent travels regularly, they cannot be there physically for the child. Your custody schedule will reflect this. The key in custody agreements is to work with the other parent and your Franklin child custody lawyer.

Can an unconventional job affect my child custody agreement?

Legally, it shouldn’t – but that does not mean that your coparent’s attorney won’t try to use it against you. If you work in a profession that could subject you to social stigma – in an adult-only industry, for example, or in a job that could put you in physical danger (such as a “bouncer” at a nightclub, or a professional fighter) – you should not be denied custody of your child, provided that your child is never subjected to the influence of your work. For example, if you work in a nightclub, your child should never be at that club.

It can be an uphill battle, but you do have rights as a parent. A Franklin child custody attorney can show the court how your job will not interfere with the care you provide your child.

What will a judge consider when it comes to child custody in Tennessee?

While the work schedule for both parents will be a factor in a custody arrangement, it is not the only one. Other factors a judge will consider are:

  • The parent’s capacity to provide care
  • The home environment
  • How involved each parent is
  • The support system each parent and their families can provide

These cases are complex, and you need a Franklin child custody attorney who has experience crafting parenting schedules that work for both parties. There are some cases where one parent will have the child more often than the other, depending on what is best for the child. Children will need a schedule and routine, and both parents must work together to establish one that works.

Ultimately, there will be differences for each case. A child custody arrangement can be modified when situations change. If your work schedule or employment changes, you will also need to change the visitation schedule. One example is when a parent is in school. Upon graduation, they begin new employment and are no longer attending classes. This scenario will be a significant change in circumstances requiring the court to modify the parenting schedule.

Child custody can be complex, but we are here to help you through the process and advise you about your options. If you are in the Brentwood, Columbia, or Franklin area, contact the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates by using our contact form or calling 615-977-9370 to schedule a consultation today.