Divorce affects the entire family, and the impact on children can be significant. Most divorced parents want to maintain a strong bond and relationship with their children after the divorce. How can this be achieved when one or both parents have work schedules that are demanding?
The concern that job commitments might negatively impact child custody decisions is legitimate. A parent who is less available or flexible at work could lose opportunities for future advancement in their career.
The ability to balance the demands of a job and child care is one of many factors a court will consider when deciding child custody and visitation schedules. A parent who is the primary caretaker may feel they are going to be forced to sacrifice their financial future in order to maintain custody of their children.
What Do Courts Consider in Child Custody Cases?
When courts are involved in deciding child custody cases, they consider the best interests of the children. A judge will evaluate many relevant factors in making custody decisions, including:
- Age of the children
- History of caregiving for the children
- Ability of each parent to provide a stable home life
- Siblings and extended family relationships
- Living accommodations
- Existing relationships between the children and each parent
- Mental and physical health of each parent
- Any history of abuse or neglect
- Children’s wishes
There is not one determining factor that overrides the others. Courts will favor custody arrangements that permit the children to spend most of their time under the care of a parent rather than a third-party caregiver. The court will inquire about the work schedules of each parent and will ask if their schedules will get in the way of their abilities to fulfill their parental duties.
After a court has conducted its fact-finding investigation and weighed its findings, they will issue a custody order. The order determines allocation of custody, and for the non-custodian parent, visitation rights.
If the court has a concern about unsupervised visits, they may impose requirements as a pre-requisite to allowing visitation. An example would be if a parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse. In this case, the court might impose a requirement of a mandatory drug test prior to a visit.
What Happens if One Parent Moves Out of State?
It is not uncommon for one parent to move out of state. This can happen in pursuit of a job, a relationship, or to be closer to family.
In an effort to avoid complex legal battles over which court has jurisdiction, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was established. This law guides jurisdiction and enforcement of custody orders when parents no longer live in the same state.
If parents are concerned about an existing child custody agreement, they should speak to a lawyer about modifications.
Delaware County Child Custody Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Parents with Child Custody Modifications
Resolving child custody and care can be difficult for parents. Our Delaware County child custody lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. help parents with their custody arrangements. For an initial consultation, complete our online form or call us at 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.