The Law Offices of Van A. Schwab
Skokie and Libertyville

Child custody arrangements are changing

It used to be that moms, whether they worked outside the home or not, got custody of the children in a divorce. However, the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that about 70.5 percent of mother's work outside the home. Of that group, 30 percent are the primary breadwinners for the household. This shift is creating new roles for parents and new determinations for primary child custody arrangements. During the 1980s, courts began awarding 50/50 custody arrangements. However, recently, some psychologists and family law courts have begun to favor children having a single primary caregiver. There are steps a working mother can take to ensure a fair custody arrangement.

It's a good idea to avoid going to court to create a custody agreement. Judges are busy, and they're likely to determine the terms by simply calculating who is around the children the most. If that person is the dad, the judge isn't likely to rock the boat by ruling in favor of the mom. As a working mom, if you know divorce is coming, try to take the role of primary parent long before papers are filed. This can be accomplished by checking out the company's flex time options and bringing work home.

In the end, it's of great importance to recognize that your ex-husband loves the kids and is really the best ally in raising them. Sometimes, it's easier to co-parent than it is to actually be married. Use the time the kids are with their dad to recharge and spend time with friends.

Child custody should always be decided in the best interests of the children. If a couple is having difficulty with arrangements, they may wish to allow a divorce attorney to review the case and recommend an agreement that works for all parties.

Source: Huffington Post, "Child Custody and the Working Mom", Lisa Helfend Meyer, June 01, 2013

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