Parents in New Jersey who are going through a divorce might assume that if one parent is the breadwinner and the other stays at home with the children, a judge will decide to give custody to the stay-at-home parent. However, this is not always the case, and in fact, a court will often look favorably on a stay-at-home parent who decides to go out to work. Furthermore, parents with demanding careers who also want custody may still be granted it.
They do need to put the best interests of the child first, and this means being realistic about what they can do. They should not insist on having the child during weekdays if they are unable to get them ready for school in the morning and make sure they get dinner and do their schoolwork in the evenings. On the other hand, courts can be flexible about parents’ need for child care arrangements, and having someone else pick the child up at school or help with child care in other ways will not automatically disqualify a parent from custody.
Parents should hold themselves to the same standards that they do the ex-spouse. Furthermore, while they should not discuss divorce details at work, they should make arrangements if they need a more flexible schedule to care for their children.
Parents do not necessarily have to go to litigation in order to reach a child custody agreement during a divorce. Many are able to do so through negotiations with the assistance of their attorneys. This might be less stressful and can leave a better co-parenting relationship intact. Parents who do go to court should keep in mind that most courts work from the assumption that children should spend time with both parents. Exceptions can be made if the child is unsafe with one parent.