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A parenting plan should balance work and kids

The biggest challenge for many parents who divorce is rebalancing their work and home life obligations. For some, it means returning to outside employment to help supplement the family's income. Others find that they are spending more time handling such hands-on tasks as picking up kids from school or participating in daily various activities.

Parenting plans need to be realistic

While some married couples truly split up the child-rearing, often the one with a more flexible schedule or a lower-income ends up handling more of the daily chores, while the other focuses more on financially supporting the family. The higher-income parent, however, need not be punished for professional accomplishments during the divorce by not getting joint custody. Their parenting plan can enable them to get equal time if they can change their work schedule to have a more balanced approach.

What is the right amount?

Those drafting a plan need to consider the following to find a good fit:

  1. Family: The needs of the kids always come first in resolving custody and parenting time issues. It is essential that both parents agree on this and understands how to achieve it.
  2. Work: A parent’s job may require them to travel, be physically present in the office for the entire workday, or work nights. A parenting plan needs to accommodate these constraints, at least until the work schedule changes.
  3. Help: One or both parents with joint custody and an equal parenting plan may find it challenging to meet all the family obligations on a day-to-day basis. It may be necessary for one or both to employ reliable childcare, perhaps using one person to share the expense and stabilize the children's home life. As long as the parent is home at dinnertime, judges are generally amenable to this type of support.  
  4. Flexibility: Employers are more comfortable now with work from home options or leaving the office at certain specific times as long as it is arranged ahead of time, and the employee still meets their production goals.
  5. Uniform rules: An essential part of collaborative co-parenting is following the same guidelines, with some give and take. Each parent's time should be respected equally when it comes to sticking to the schedule or handling emergencies at work.

Finding a workable solution

An experienced family law attorney can work with a client to draft a parenting plan that balances work and home demands. They can then work with the other side to ensure that the children's best interests are addressed with a schedule that best accommodates the parents' work schedule. These legal professionals can also refine or alter the plan as circumstances change.

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