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Can a third-shift or swing-shift schedule affect custody?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Family Law And Divorce |

Parents thinking about divorce in Indiana may have several concerns preventing them from filing. Some adults worry that the end of their marriage could have a negative impact on the family’s standard of living and leave them unable to provide for their children’s needs. Many others might worry that their current employment arrangements could leave them unable to spend time with their children.

When there are two parents living together, having one take a third-shift job or a position where they have swing shifts may seem perfectly reasonable because the other parent is always around to even things out for the children. Many parents might worry that their unusual schedule could prevent the courts from granting them shared custody if they decide to file for divorce.

Is it true that someone who works a third-shift job or regularly works swing shifts cannot fully share custody after a divorce?

Parents can work around their job schedule

Despite what many people fear, the family courts in Indiana don’t automatically write someone off as a parent simply because they work overnight. If a judge makes the decisions about custody matters, the focus should always be on the best interests of the children.

With rare exceptions, family law judges try to keep both parents actively engaged in the lives of the children. A judge shouldn’t relegate a parent to visitation just because they work late shifts at a hospital or a factory. Instead, they may develop a custody arrangement that reflects the restrictions on the parent’s schedule.

A judge cares more about the attitude that the parent has toward the children and the needs of the children than they do about someone’s unusual schedule. Plenty of parents who work third shift do so because of how much they love their children. In fact, there has even been research that shows parents working late or unusual shifts may have more opportunities than those working standard first-shift jobs to connect with their children in some cases.

Families don’t have to take the matter to court and ask a judge to decide. It is also theoretically possible for the two adults in the family to negotiate their own terms for sharing custody. Particularly if someone works a three or four-day week because of longer shifts, they could potentially enjoy their parenting time on days when they do not have to work. Factors including the age of the children, their school schedules and even the number of children in the family can influence the best way to divide parenting time between the adults when one of them works swing shifts or third shift.

Understanding what influences a judge’s approach to Indiana custody matters may benefit those currently worried about preserving their relationship with their children and who cannot reach mutually-agreeable custody terms with their ex.