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Resolving Differences By Putting You And Your Family First

Will being a stay-at-home parent affect your custody arrangement?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2021 | Child Custody |

When you and your spouse decided to have children, you left your job. The amount you made would have covered childcare, but it wouldn’t have left you with much else. You decided it didn’t really make sense to work for 40 hours a week just to pay someone else to watch your child at the same time, so you quit the job to become a stay-at-home parent.

It’s now been three years, and your spouse has decided to file for a divorce. You’re going to have to divide custody rights, as you both want to have time to see your child. But you’re curious about whether or not your situation as a stay-at-home parent is going to give you a better chance at getting more custody time than your ex, who hasn’t spent nearly as much time with the child in the past.

It may be important that you are the primary caregiver

This can impact your case, especially if you are considered the child’s primary caregiver. In fact, some legal experts have noted that “in custody cases, most states’ family courts allow a preference for the parent who can demonstrate that they were a child’s primary caregiver during the course of the marriage.”

After all, the court is always trying to put the child’s best interests first. The court will recognize that you have spent the majority of the time with the child, raising them, and that you inherently know how to do this in a way that no one else does. They also recognize that stability is important to your child, who is used to spending almost every waking hour with you. They’re not going to want to take the child away from you for too long, as that could be traumatic and emotionally troubling.

All that being said, you are unlikely to get sole custody simply based on the fact that you are the primary caregiver. Your ex still has parental rights and is likely to get some custody time or at least visitation options. It is still important for them to be involved, even if the child spends most of their time with you.

Sole custody is usually not given out unless there is a more extreme situation, such as evidence of abuse or neglect. The fact that your spouse has not been the primary caregiver during the marriage does not mean that they cannot be an adequate caregiver after the marriage.

Exploring all of your options

Like the court, you certainly want to put your child first. Take the time to explore all of your options as you go through your divorce.

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