In today’s global economy, it is not uncommon for one or both people in a marriage to have to travel for work. Of course, some careers involve more travel than others. Sometimes work-related travel happens on a regular schedule, and sometimes it is heavier during one period of time than it is during other periods. Whatever the case might be, marriages – and in turn, families – must adapt to the travel schedules of those involved. During a marriage, and especially when travel is anticipated, it is easier to arrange schedules accordingly. When children are involved, it is extremely important to make sure that a child’s needs are met, even if travel for work-related purposes has to occur. When divorce enters the picture, work-related travel tends to become a bigger issue than it may have been in the marriage. This is especially true when issues like custody and time-sharing come into the Florida parenting plan discussion. This post explores some of the concerns and possibilities for divorce settlements if work-related travel is a potential issue that you may face.
If the parent that travels sporadically or extensively for work is interested in equal time-sharing, or what is sometimes referred to as a 50-50 custody arrangement, work-related travel will not automatically make that type of arrangement impossible. However, if long-term travel is part of your job and often happens unexpectedly, this could be something the court takes into consideration, especially if you and the child’s other parent cannot agree on a custody arrangement. It is important to keep in mind that the percentage of time that you have custody of your child could have a significant impact on your child support, either the obligation to pay or the payments you receive. Your attorney can help you understand what these effects might entail.
In each of these scenarios, communication is key. You will need to be able to communicate with the child’s co-parent when work-related travel arises, especially in situations in which it will affect your ability to have custody of your child during the travel period. Maintaining open, honest, productive communication can help make sure that your child’s best interests are being met even as you try to meet the demands of your employment. In relationships where communication between former spouses is difficult or seemingly impossible, it will be more difficult to negotiate an even time-sharing agreement between parents when one individual is prone to being out of town for extended periods of time, or even just for short periods of time on a regular basis. Of course, if your work schedule takes you out of town the first and third week of every month, then it is usually possible to demonstrate this to the court and make sure that the court takes you schedule into consideration when determining custody arrangements and time-sharing percentages.
Your Outlook Matters
It is important to maintain a clear perspective in all aspects of your divorce, and issues concerning time-sharing and custody are no different. When children are involved in divorce, you will need to make a conscious effort to put your feelings aside and make sure that you are focused on meeting the best interests of the children involved. Sometimes, that means you will need to be amenable to receiving less time with your children than you may otherwise have wanted. If that happens, it is important to keep in mind that the most important thing about the time you spend with your kids is the quality of that time and not necessarily the quantity. Most children are capable of understanding that careers come with certain demands, and while there might be some resentment at you missing an important event if work takes you elsewhere, it is typically the same level of emotion as would have existed during the marriage. Your goal in negotiating a fair custody agreement is to make sure that your children’s rights are protected while also ensuring that your rights are protected. However, you need to focus on what is best for the children first.
That being said, it is important for you to approach any time-sharing agreement in a positive and productive way. Complaining about not getting everything you wanted to friends and even some family members might help you express your disappointment, but complaining about these things to your children will serve little to no purpose. In fact, doing so could increase the tension in your relationship with your children as well as with your child’s other parent. It is also helpful to keep in mind that even an agreement that falls short of what you may have wanted could mean that your kids can experience a more structured routine in an otherwise tumultuous time.
Modification is Possible
While many aspects of a divorce settlement are final, often custody agreements are not. They can be modified as circumstances evolve. This is helpful to remember because your work schedule may change and eventually you may not travel for work as much. If the demands of work-related travel decrease either because of a change in responsibility or because of a change in employment, you and your attorney can revisit your custody arrangement and determine if requesting a modification is the appropriate course of action in your circumstances. Typically, modifications are easier if both parents agree to them, but they are not impossible to obtain even if you and your child’s other parent disagree. Modification may also be an important tool for you should work-related demands increase at any point, or demands for other aspects of your life for that matter.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to work with an experienced Florida divorce attorney if you are considering a Florida divorce. Experienced Florida divorce attorneys understand the nuances of family law, especially when it comes to issue like child support and child custody. It is also important to maintain a relationship with your divorce attorney in case issues involving child custody or support modification arise down the road. Your Florida divorce attorney is already intimately familiar with the details of your case, and working with them on modifications can save you time, money, and additional stress down the road. If you are considering divorce in Florida or have questions about how divorce might affect your child custody goals, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation and find out more information.