At one time, parental roles and custody time were very “traditional” – as Dads were the consistent breadwinners in families and therefore were the ones paying support, and Mom was awarded primary custody of the children. However, courts have strayed from this being the “norm,” and now, 50/50 custody is the new trend and quickly becoming the new “norm.”
It then becomes a challenge for a family law attorney to counsel a professional, busy woman as to how to handle a custody situation because it is difficult to get the best of both worlds. However, the following are some tips for working Moms going through a custody battle:
1) Avoid going to court. It is typically more beneficial to reach a custody agreement outside of the courtroom. This is because often a judge will not look at subtle family dynamics and will simply decide on what they think is in the child’s best interests. It becomes more of a calculation than an assessment of all factors given a particular family’s unique situation (for example, if Mom is the breadwinner or is working full-time).
2) Adjust priorities. If you are a working mom who wants to spend more custody time with your kids, you have to be flexible. Bring work home that can be brought home, or speak with your employer about flex time arrangements. If you appear more available, then you will be considered for more custody time with your children.
3) Be visible as a caregiver. This doesn’t mean just being visible to your ex-husband, but be visible to the other adults in your children’s lives. Make time to show up at parent-teacher conferences, soccer games, and dance recitals. Keep a journal of how much time you spend with the kids and what activities you attend so that you have a written log of the time spent for custody purposes.
4) Don’t be so hard on yourself. Many Mothers going through a custody battle feel guilty that they are not at work enough while at the same time wishing they could spend more time with their children. Realize that you have to do the best you can do given the circumstances, and you cannot always be Superwoman. Make slight adjustments where they can be made so that you can feel up to speed with work while at the same time feeling like you aren’t missing anything with your children.
5) Your ex is an asset, not an adversary. Even though your marriage did not work out, you and your ex can still be successful co-parents. Your ex does not have to be the “bad guy,” but rather someone you can work with and have a common goal: to do what is best for the children that you BOTH love. Look at your children’s time with their Dad as your time to recharge so that you can be relaxed and refreshed when you are with your children.
Questions about child custody in Pennsylvania? Contact our attorneys today!