How Can a New Job Impact Child Custody?

In Child Custody by Carly Baker

Job opportunities and career advancement are an exciting prospect. With your hard work, it is gratifying to see a payoff and recognition. Further, if you have children, a new job can really help you better provide and save for them. When it comes to child custody situations, however, a new job may have unintended impacts that parents should consider.

Best Interest of the Child

In North Carolina, issues of child custody, visitation, and access are all determined based on a child’s best interest.  There is no settled definition of best interest. Instead, Appellate Courts have allowed trial courts to consider a wide scope of factors that may weigh into determining a child’s best interest, including:

  • A parent’s ability to meet the children’s emotional and physical needs;
  • A parent’s plans for their children;
  • The children’s “status quo” or the regular routine they’ve been following prior to a court hearing;
  • The stability of the children;
  • The work schedules of parents and their ability to act in the role of a caregiver.

The Implications of Relocating for a Job

So if you are considering a new job opportunity, a critical question is: Does the new job take you away from the child?

This is probably the most significant way that a new job can impact your child custody rights. For example, it is common for people to relocate due to job opportunities. If you are a noncustodial parent who has visitation with your child, then this means that you may not be able to adhere to your current visitation schedule due to the sheer distance to get to your child. When either parent moves out of state, it is necessary to modify existing child custody orders to reflect the change.

A Dramatically Different Work Schedule

Another question regarding a new job: Does your new job have odd hours or require you to travel for extended periods of time?

The answer to this question matters, as odd hours or frequent travel can put you in a position that limits your ability to be a full time caretaker to your child. If you are the parent with primary custody, then this change is significant and may support a modification of your custody orders if you do not have an adequate plan for providing care while you work. In the alternative, if you are the noncustodial parent, then a drastic change in your work schedule may make your current visitation schedule untenable. This would necessitate a modification to obtain a new visitation schedule.  

Let New Direction Family Law Assist You New Direction Family Law provides comprehensive legal representation to people who need assistance with child custody-related issues. If you need help reaching an enforceable parenting agreement, initial child custody orders, or the modification of existing orders, we can help you. Our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience, which we will fully use to fight for your rights. Our office serves clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit us online at our website.