What’s Your Plan, Stan? A Primary Custodian’s Guide

When you go into court requesting joint or primary custody, you will need to tell the Judge what your plan is for the children.  Before you speak, be sure your plan includes all of the details regarding rearing your children.

First, where will the children be sleeping?  An obvious answer is at your house.  But, if you are still in the marital residence with your wife, you need to rethink the details.  Someone will be moving out.  Do you plan on staying in the marital residence?  Having your wife stay there?  Selling it?  If you are leaving, where will you be going?  Can you purchase another residence nearby?  You may need to borrow money for family members while the divorce is pending to do that.  Can you only afford a one bedroom apartment?  If so, where will the children sleep?

Second, where will the children attend school?  Do you want them to remain in the school they are currently attending?  Or would you prefer that they attend a better school.  Now is your chance to move into a better school district.  You may want to take advantage of that.  If not, make sure your residence remains in their school district.

Third, where will the children spend their time after school?  Do you work from home such that you can pick them up at the bus stop?  If not, have you located a respectable child care facility nearby?  Is it affordable?  Do the children have friends or neighbors that also attend there?  Alternatively, have you looked into employing a nanny (who can also help with meals and house cleaning…).  How will you get them to their activities? Fourth, will you be able to handle emergencies during the day?

Primary custodians typically answer the call when a child is sick.  Does your employer allow you to take time off to stay home with your child or take them to the doctor if need be?  Do you have family or neighbors who are available to help out?

Fifth, when can you vacation with the children?  How much vacation time do you have with your employer?  If you have the children most of the summer, but do not have vacation time to spend, what will the children do?  Summer camp?  Trips with the grandparents?  Many programs require reservations as early as January of each year.  You may need to attend camp expos early in the year to get ideas.

Having answers to these questions before going into court should give the Judge the impression that you are “primary custodian” material and increase your chances of obtaining the parenting time you deserve.

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