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How working night shifts could influence child custody decisions

Researchers have discovered that children are far happier and tend to do better in school and then in life when they spend time with both of their parents, which is why family law judges in New Jersey and around the country favor shared physical custody arrangements in divorce cases whenever possible. However, these decisions are made with the best interests of the child in mind, and there are times when judges may prefer alternative arrangements.

Spill-over parenting

Judges usually decide against joint custody when one of the parents involved has substance abuse issues, is prone to violent outbursts or has a lifestyle that could negatively influence their children, but they may also be reluctant to award equal custody to parents who travel a great deal or work night shifts. There is nothing wrong with working nights, but this kind of schedule has been linked to what psychologists call “spill-over parenting.” Examples of spill-over parenting include taking out the stresses of night work on children and blaming them for things that they had nothing to do with.

Quality time

Judges usually err on the side of caution when making child custody decisions, which is why they may be concerned when a divorcing parent works a schedule that is unlikely to allow them to spend much quality time with their children. This could be especially true if arguments over working different shifts contributed to the divorce.

Resolving child custody issues amicably

Experienced family law attorneys could advise divorcing couples to put their differences aside and seek an amicable agreement when negotiating over delicate issues like child custody and visitation. Even people who find it difficult to be in the same room with one another may be able to do this when the welfare of their children is at stake. When adversarial negotiations are unproductive, attorneys could suggest exploring alternative venues like collaborative divorce or mediation.