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Considering child custody for female breadwinners


Parents in Massachusetts often strive to maintain a good income. Caring for a child is often expensive and parents have to make difficult decisions surrounding their child's needs. For some, one parent will quit their job or work part-time in order to save costs associated with childcare. In addition, some families strive for a parent to be fully involved in the upbringing of their children. Although it is common, being a stay at home parent could lead to numerous challenges if the couple were to divorce.

Although it is common for women to take on the role as the primary caregiver, a recent article focused on just the opposite. As more and more women enter the professional work world, men are more frequently taking on the role as a stay at home parent. Because mothers are entering the status of being the breadwinner, this could alter the stereotypical child custody case.

Whether they quit their job or maintained a flexible work schedule to care for the children, women traditionally spent the vast majority of their time with the children. Women would logically become the primary or custodial parent because that was the situation during the marriage. Just as stay at home mothers were expected to take the lead in a child custody arrangement, stay at home fathers are now expecting the same treatment.

Women should expect that their role would be considered when a court decides on child custody. Another issue to consider is that a stay at home parent will need to start making an income. This might require them to obtain childcare so that they can go back to school or work. In the end, parents could obtain joint custody or a more favorable arrangement in order for both of them to spend quality time with their children.

Even if they do not obtain an ideal arrangement in court, the divorcing parents could seek to devise a reasonable arrangement outside of a courtroom. Furthermore, mediation or other options could help parents reach a sensible child custody agreement. Lastly, they could seek post-divorce modification to alter the child custody arrangement in order to benefit everyone involved.

Source: The Guardian, "Don't want to lose your kids in the divorce? Don't be the breadwinner," Marilyn Stowe, Fed. 10, 2014

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