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FAMILY LAW 46: Does working outside the home compromise a parent’s custody?

In this case, B and S’s relationship began to deteriorate after AB’s birth. Money was tight and B claimed that S rejected B’s requests that she return to work. S, on the other hand, accused B of belittling her role as a stay-at-home parent. B worked overtime when possible and was sometimes required to travel for work events. B’s absence put a strain on the relationship. Eventually, B filed for divorce in June 2018.


B testified that during their marriage, both she and S served as primary caretakers for AB. B asserted that she picked her shift at work to make it so that she could have the most amount of hours with AB during the day as possible. S described the family situation somewhat similarly.

Both parties agreed that from AB’s birth until S left the home, both parents shared in the care of AB. Although B worked outside of the home, she arranged her schedule to maximize her time home during AB’s waking hours.

Established Custodial Environment

Before making a custody determination, the trial court must determine whether the child has an established custodial environment with one or both parents.

An established custodial environment is one of significant duration in which a parent provides care, discipline, love, guidance, and attention that is appropriate to the age and individual needs of the child. It is both a physical and psychological environment that fosters a relationship between custodian and child and is marked by security, stability, and permanence.

An established custodial environment may exist with both parents where a child looks to both parents for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort.

Penalized for Full-Time Work Outside Home

For one parent to stay home to raise the children, the other must go out into the world and generate an income to support the family. Does working outside the home compromise a parent’s ability to forge and maintain a strong, healthy relationship with her children?

The courts cannot fault a parent for full-time employment outside the home by treating them as less than a full parent.

The court cannot give more weight to one factor such as one parent has closer parental and emotional ties than the other does by virtue of being able to spend significantly more time with the child.

Assistance with Custody Issues

If you are going through a divorce or are separating from the mother or father of your children, it is important to protect your custodial rights. If the divorce or separation process does not turn out like you thought it would, you may not have the custody you deserve.

Seek the advice and guidance of Aldrich Legal Services who will be by your side every step of the way.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

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