This 20 part series tracks what Judges are required to consider when making child custody and parenting plan determinations to help parents focus on what is relevant to the Judge to effectively present their divorce, paternity or modification case.
Factor #2: Judges need to consider the anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties when making child custody determinations.
General parental responsibilities that are considered by the Court include getting the child ready in the morning or preparing the child for bed at night; transporting the child to and from school or daycare; helping the child with his or her homework; making meals for the child; signing the child up and transporting the child to extracurricular activities; taking care of the child’s medical needs, etc.
There are often changes in parents’ lives after the litigation. The parent that may had been a stay at home mother may need to enter or re-enter into the work force, which may affect his or her ability to pick up the child from school. On the other hand, the parent that may have been the parent that worked late to support the entire household may have less financial responsibility after the litigation and adjust his or her work schedule accordingly.
Many parents have their parents (the child’s grandparents) or other individuals assist with parental responsibilities such as picking up the children from school. Generally, most judges prefer that a children be with one of their parents rather than another relative or caregiver.
It is helpful to consider all of the important parental responsibilities for your particular child and journal how you and your other child’s parent take part in these responsibilities. This can later be useful for mediation and if necessary, trial preparation.
Please also read Factor #1 that Judges consider in contested child custody cases.