Who’s watching the kids while you’re at work?
Is it your mother or your father? Is it your overbearing sister? Maybe it’s the texting teenaged tomboy from around the corner. When was the last time you questioned who’s watching your children while you’re at work.
In many child custody cases, parents fight hard to win the right of primary custodial parent….and then, they leave the children with family members, babysitters, friends, or day care facilities while they go to work. Of course, this is often inevitable, and in many cases, a meddling family member or a day care worker is better than turning the children over to the other natural parent.
In other cases, however, the person who watches your children when you’re not available, and the length of time you leave the children with that person, can represent a real risk to your future right to custody. When you leave your children with an undesirable family member or an irresponsible babysitter, you run the risk that the other parent in your case will petition the court for a change of custody or a modification of your timesharing arrangement. Likewise, when you leave the child in the care of another person or a day care facility for an excessive amount of time, you raise the question of whether you ought to have primary physical and residential custody of the child in the first place. It is common for non-custodial parents to argue in front of family court judges that the other parent “shouldn’t have custody any more because she barely spends any time at home. And why should her sister or the neighborhood babysitter spend more time with my daughters than I do?”
When a non-custodial parent takes issue with the quality and responsibility of the person watching the child, or the length of time the children are with that person, the question of custody and parenting time is immediately at stake. If you are a custodial parent who maintains a full-time job or an otherwise busy lifestyle, you must act efficiently to prioritize your time with your children, even if it means some modification of your working schedule. You must consider ways to minimize the use of other family members, babysitters and day care services. And, you must scrutinize and investigate who specifically will be caring for your children in your absence. Addressing these issues in advance can help you avoid an uncomfortable challenge to your position as primary custodial parent in the future.