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Can my career be used against me in divorce?

You've spent years in your career, putting in long hours and making sacrifices to provide for your children and supporting the family's lifestyle. But what happens when one parent is the nurturer and the other has worked long hours away from home? If your marriage is falling apart, or you are separated from your spouse, can that be used against you to get custody of the kids?

The short answer is, yes.

When you are contemplating divorce, start by taking an objective look at your past interaction with the children. How much time have you spent with them, and what kind of bond do you share?

The best interests of the child analysis in custody

In Georgia, when parents are married, they have equal rights to obtain custody and visitation when they divorce. Courts use the best interests of the child analysis in making the decision. The court looks at the following facts:

  • Age of the child (at age 14 children have a say in which parent gets custody).
  • Stable home life: how long has your child or children lived in their current home?
  • Education, social, and religious involvement of each parent.
  • Mental and physical fitness of each parent.
  • Extent of bonding between parent and child over time.
  • Ability to provide for the child's needs: food, clothing, medical expenses, housing.
  • Do you or your spouse have past or current domestic violence or substance abuse issues?
  • Evidence that you are best positioned to care for your child, which includes your support network and resources.
  • Who shuttled the child around or cared for the child in times of illness in the past?
  • How involved have you been with kids prior to the split?
  • Who has been the primary caretaker? Did you have a nanny even though your spouse did not work?

Next steps

The time spent building your career does not spell failure for your custody battle. If you spend time traveling for work, you can invest in resources to supplement custody by continuing to employ the current nanny or by hiring one, or look to a responsible family member willing to step in and assist with care. Be a good parent, and a visible one. Demonstrate your efforts to be involved in your children's lives to non-friends and people outside your family circle: show up at sports or dance practice, school conferences and programs. And remember, custody is always modifiable in the future.

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Hecht Family Law
12600 Deerfield Pkwy
Suite 125
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Phone: 678-926-9234
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