California parents who are going through a divorce might wonder whether having a demanding career could count against them in a custody battle. If the other parent was the primary caregiver, that parent could argue that this makes them the best choice for custody. However, having a career does not necessarily mean giving up custody.
Parents should keep a few principles in mind. First, they should put the best interests of the child first. They need to be realistic about what they will be able to do. For example, they need to be available to help the child get ready in the morning and to make sure they get dinner and homework in the evening. They should not overcommit if they will be working long hours. On the other hand, courts are increasingly understanding of the need for parents to use child care providers sometimes.
Parents may need to seek more flexibility at work, and if this is the case, they will need to be proactive with their employers. While discussing the details of the divorce at work is not appropriate, they can talk about their children. They should not place expectations on the other parent that they are not willing to meet themselves. Above all, they should not assume that the judge is going to be biased against them because of being the breadwinner.
Divorce between parents does not automatically mean the parents will have to go to court. Parents are often able to negotiate an agreement for child custody. Even if one parent has custody, there are a number of different child custody and visitation arrangements that can allow the other parent to spend a substantial amount of time with the child. Attorneys can help parents negotiate the schedule. Parents should be sure to include plans for holidays and vacations to help avoid conflict over these times later.