Can Custody Be Arranged Around My Work Schedule?

Work schedule and planner on white background and surrounded by items (laptop, keyboard, mouse) on desk

Irregular or shift-based work presents a unique set of challenges and benefits. These jobs exist in various industries, such as healthcare, retail, public service, manufacturing, and transportation. If you are a parent involved in a child custody matter, you may be wondering how your case will become even more complicated if either parent has an irregular work or shift work schedule. In this article, we will explore the different types of custody arrangements that work best for parents with odd work schedules. 

Arranging Child Custody Around Work Schedules 

Parents with odd work schedules often have to be a bit creative when determining a parenting plan and custody schedule that works best for them. When it comes to child custody cases, traditional custody arrangements (such as alternating weeks or splitting the week) are often seen as the default option.  

However, for parents with odd work schedules, these arrangements may not be feasible or practical. Fortunately, there are several flexible custody arrangements available that can work with these parents' busy schedules. 

70-30 schedules and the 3-4-4-3 schedule are examples of more flexible custody arrangements that might work better for parents with odd work schedules. Here is a more detailed explanation of each of these schedules:  

  • 70-30 schedule. This schedule involves the child spending 70% of their time with one parent and 30% of their time with the other parent. For example, one parent may have the child during the weekdays, while the other has the child during the weekends. 

  • 3-4-4-3 schedule. This schedule involves the child spending three days with one parent, followed by four days with the other parent, then four days with the first parent, and finally three days with the second parent. This option can be ideal for parents with odd work schedules, especially shift schedules, as this custody schedule can be synced with your work schedule. 

Is Your Work Schedule a Factor for Determining Child Custody? 

If you and the other party cannot agree on custody, the court will have to make a determination. Alabama courts consider several factors when determining child custody arrangements, and your work schedules may be one of them. The court must base their decision on the “best interests of the child” standard. 

To determine the best interests of the child, the court might consider several factors such as:  

  • the moral fitness of each parent,  

  • the child’s relationship with each parent, and  

  • the physical, mental, and emotional health of each parent,  

  • the home environment that each parent provides,  

  • the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, social, emotional, material, and educational needs, and  

  • any other factors the courts deem relevant.  

If you have an irregular work schedule, the opposing counsel may try to argue that you may have a harder time spending quality time with their children during the week, leading to less frequent visits and making it difficult to maintain a close relationship. They may also claim that your work schedule affects your parenting ability and the child’s best interests because of:  

  • Lack of quality time with children. Irregular work hours may limit the time that parents spend with their children, reducing the opportunities for bonding and nurturing relationships.  

  • Inconsistent schedules for the child. Irregular work hours may result in inconsistent schedules for the children, which can lead to stress, disrupted routines, and confusion.  

  • Limited involvement in children's activities. Irregular work hours may make it difficult for parents to participate in children's hobbies, school events, or extracurricular activities. 

  • Increased parent stress. Irregular work hours can increase stress levels because of the impact on your sleep schedule, impairing the parent's mental health and ability to cope with crises or conflict at home.  

  • Lack of emotional availability. Irregular work hours may lead to emotional exhaustion and detachment, reducing the parent's ability to respond appropriately to the child's emotional needs.  

Trusted Divorce Attorneys  

For parents struggling to arrange their work and custody schedules, it is essential to communicate openly with their ex-partner about their work schedules and parenting responsibilities. It's also crucial to remember that the primary goal is to develop a parenting plan that works for everyone involved, especially the children.  

If you or a loved one are involved in a child custody case, Shaw Family Law is here and prepared to help. With over three decades of experience, our attorney has helped countless clients handle child custody matters in and out of court.  

Call (205) 259-7650 to schedule a consultation today.