Child-Custody Issues for Parents with Non-Traditional Work Hours

Today’s families have a more and more diverse set of individualized issues and schedules.  Children have school, friends, and extra-curricular activities.  Parents have work, PTO meetings, church, or other community events.  All of these together can often mean that parents need to get creative when making a schedule for their children and making sure it fits in with the parents’ schedules.  This is even more true after a divorce or separation.  When one parent has a non-traditional work schedule, this can even further complicate an already complicated situation. 

Non-traditional work schedules are common in certain professions such as firefighters, doctors, nurses, police officers, factory workers, or members of the military.  These jobs and many others require that the employee work outside of the typical 9-5 on a regular basis.  The type of custody schedule that needs to be crafted for these parents will vary depending on the type of hours, but no matter the schedule, the parents need to be as flexible as possible.  In the optimal situation, a parent will know his or her schedule weeks or even months ahead of time.  In such a case, the parents can adjust their parenting schedule ahead of time in order to accommodate the work schedule.  However, if the parent does not receive advance notice, parents will need to be even more flexible, possibly having a visitation schedule that requires immediate exchange of work hours and mandatory accommodation of that schedule to the best extent possible by the custodial parent.  Even though such an arrangement will often mean the parent with the more traditional hours has more parenting time, a non-traditional work schedule does not mean that the parent will not be entitled to visitation.  Where the parents live close together, the parent with the non-traditional work schedule may want to consider a schedule that allows the parent overnights during the week when the work schedule permits.  Living close together usually means getting the child to school will not be more difficult than it usually would be if the child were spending time with the custodial parent.  If the parents do not live close together, parents may want to discuss having the non-custodial parent having larger amounts of time during school breaks.  In essence, although a typical schedule may lend itself better to a custody agreement, there is no reason that a parent with non-traditional work hours cannot also enjoy visitation with the children.

We have experience helping our clients with making visitation and custody schedules to fit all types of situations. at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your children and your custody schedule.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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