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Do courts penalize working parents in custody hearings?

One of the many questions parents in Minnesota have about divorce is whether they will be penalized in custody hearings for their work schedule. The more time a parent spends at work is less time the parent can spend at home with a child. If a parent has a full-time professional career, a judge might award more custody time to the other parent simply because the other parent has more time for the children.

According to the Huffington Post, judges in many custody hearings are interested in learning who the parent is that is the most involved with the child’s life. This could be either a father or a mother. If that parent served as the primary caretaker before the divorce, the court may choose to have that parent retain that role by awarding the parent the majority of custody time. This is not always the case, as some courts may decide on an even custody split between the two parents regardless.

One factor that may affect a custody ruling against a working parent is how young the child is. A court will generally not want to deprive a very young child of a primary caretaking parent. So if one parent has not been home as much as the other during the marriage, the working parent might receive less custody time.

This is not to say that a working parent will automatically be penalized. Courts take many factors into account while determining custody, and no parent should be punished simply because that person has a career. A working parent can take steps to modify his or her work schedule to include more time with children, which can help convince a court that the parent can seriously devote attention to a child. However, a parent should make it clear that these are permanent and meaningful changes, as a court might not take seriously a parent's sudden change in a work routine weeks before a divorce hearing.

This article is intended to educate readers on child custody and is not to be taken as legal advice.

 

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