In Massachusetts and across the country, employment schedules can factor into creating a parenting time schedule that’s best for the children. On the one hand, state law recognizes the rights and needs of the parents to work during parenting time. A parent isn’t necessarily favored for custody simply because they have more availability. However, the parent that spent the most time providing hands-on care to the children prior to the custody order may have a favorable argument for primary physical custody.
Generally, a parent may make their own arrangements for child care during their parenting time unless their custody agreement states otherwise. Parents who have unique employment situations can address their needs in their custody agreement. For example, a parent who travels for work may arrange to have custody on a varying basis when they are available.
Parents may negotiate or ask the court to award a right of first refusal to the other parent if a parent is unable to directly care for the child for a certain period of time. The court is allowed to exercise a significant amount of flexibility when it comes to creating the best possible order for the children.
It’s up to each parent to present the court with information about the respective employment of the parents. They must also create arguments for why a certain parenting time schedule is necessary based on the responsibilities and availability of the parents. Employment status is just one of many factors that can be a part of creating the right parenting time schedule for a child. Parents who are worried about spending enough time with their children may work with their attorney to present their argument in family court.