If this last year or two has taught people anything, it’s that they could face sudden job losses and changes seemingly out of nowhere. For parents, that’s particularly difficult, especially when they have to make sure they’re keeping to their custody schedule after a divorce.
You don’t want to let your kids down, but you also have to keep a roof over your head. If you’re between jobs or actively searching, here are three ways to negotiate custody in a flexible way while you adjust to a new normal.
How can you adjust custody to fit a new situation?
What you do in a new situation depends on your child’s age, but for most parent, it’s possible to be flexible with a custody plan when times are tough or your scheduling is irregular. Some ways to adapt a new schedule include:
- Switching to weekends
One option for parents who are starting a new job or actively seeking one is to set up a “weekends only” custody plan. This gives them all week to go to interviews or start new work schedules without involving their children in those changes. If the other parent can handle the extra custody time, then changing to taking the kids on the weekend may be beneficial (at least in the short term).
- Switching to hourly visits
Sometimes, it’s just not reasonable to have custody overnight for practical purposes. For example, if you’re on-call at your job, then you may not be able to guarantee that you can be home. In this type of case, a visitation schedule where you visit during a few hours after school or on the weekends might be a better option. Just be clear with your children that you are on-call and that you may have to leave unexpectedly for work. Honesty can go the distance as you adjust and try to get a more balanced schedule in place.
- Going digital
Some parents may not be able to guarantee that they can be physically present in the short term, so going digital with digital visitation may be helpful. Call before bed, school or at other times until you can get back on a physical schedule.
Once you do have a new schedule, you and the other parent should decide on a custody schedule that works and submit it to the court for approval.