Divorce impacts many parts of a family. While there is a justifiable emphasis on minimizing the split’s impact on the children, parents may want to make major changes as single coparents. This can mean more equally balancing the logistics of pick-ups and drop-offs and regularly parenting alone. For others, it may mean going back to work outside the home to support themselves and better provide for the family.
Breadwinners can get equal time
The family unit may have had some clear job descriptions, such as one spouse working a demanding but high-paying job while the other had more flexibility or focused full-time on running the family. However, the courts generally award joint custody, so the breadwinner will not get punished for their professional success by not getting equal parenting time or rights. This new hands-on coparenting plan may enable them to develop a more rounded relationship, which could mean less income.
Determining the right schedule
Parents need to be realistic as they consider their coparenting schedule. Some issues to weigh include:
- Children’s needs: This is always the priority, but parents need to agree on the kids’ needs and how to address them best now and in the future.
- Work demands: Some professions or positions have little flexibility, and it may make more sense to continue working those hours to best provide for the children.
- Getting help: This can be essential if both parents work outside the house. The courts are generally open to hiring help or enlisting other family members to maintain the kids’ schedule as long as the breadwinner is home for dinner and bedtime.
- Asking for flexibility: Work from home is now much more common, so employers may be open to it if the parent meets deadlines and production goals. It’s also worth noting that formalizing this arrangement can lessen the amount of resentment among coworkers.
- Cooperation: A cooperative and flexible coparenting is often essential. For the equal parenting partnership to work, parents should regard the coparent’s time as equally important to their own. This creates goodwill that goes a long way when work emergencies or other issues come up.
A plan that works for everyone
Knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys can help clients weigh their priorities and then work with the other side to determine a plan that best balances the new home life of a single parent with the demands of work. While there is a long list of foreseeable issues, modifications may be needed if something does not work or circumstances change.