If you are among the many parents for whom pursuing a career and raising your children are not mutually-exclusive, understanding how maintaining a full-time job can affect your bid for custody (called “conservatorship” in Texas) will be an important part of the divorce process. While there is nothing in Texas’s conservatorship law that expressly disfavors working parents, if you are fighting for custody, you can expect your spouse to raise the issue, and there are certain steps you can take to help strengthen your case for the custody rights you desire.

What Working Parents Need to Know about Child Custody

1. Establishing Custody Rights is a Balancing Act

First it is important to understand that establishing custody in Texas involves balancing a list of statutory factors – all of which can carry more or less weight depending upon the circumstances involved in any particular case. Even if you negotiate a custody arrangement with your spouse in lieu of going to court, these factors should guide your discussions since you will need to establish a custody arrangement that meets with the approval of the Texas courts.

2. What You (and Your Spouse) Want Matters

Among the statutory factors for custody determinations in Texas is: “the availability of the parties as caregivers and the willingness of the parties to personally care for the child.” In other words, if you want custody, that matters. During your divorce, it will be important to emphasize your willingness to devote time and attention to your children and your intention not to let your career take over your life.

3. History Can Play a Role, Too

While what you want for the future matters, past parenting arrangements can play a central role in custody determinations as well. In legal terms, this involves an examination of, “the caregiving provided to the child before and during the [divorce].” In other words, if your spouse took on primary responsibility for your children’s needs while you were married, this could work in his or her favor during your divorce.

To address this concern, working parents can emphasize (and enhance) their roles in their children’s lives. If you could do more, do more. If you already do a lot, think about ways you demonstrate your caregiver role during your divorce. While there is no “magic bullet” for proving that you are a devoted parent (and a few weeks or months of attention will not necessarily counteract years of limited involvement), now is the time to make sure you are doing as much as possible.

4. You Should Have a Plan

Once again looking toward the future, if you want custody as a working parent, it is important to have a plan. Who will take your children to school or daycare? Who will pick them up? How will you provide a stable home environment? How (and when) will you make time for your children? What will you do if there is an emergency?

In Texas custody matters, the primary focus is on the best interests of the child. As a result, when seeking custody as a parent who works full-time, you will need to proactively establish a work-life balance which shows that your children are top of mind.

Discuss Your Divorce with an Experienced Family Lawyer in McKinney, TX

If you work full-time and are preparing to go through a divorce with children, the experienced family lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC can help you develop a plan for securing custody. To get started with a free consultation, call us at (214) 726-1450 or request an appointment online today.