THING THAT COMMONLY AFFECTS CUSTODY CASES . . .
. . . CRUDDY WORK SCHEDULES!
Occasionally, I'll get a parent, usually the father, who believes the Court will win him custody because he is the more 'stable' parent because he works a good job and makes great money, like close to six-digits or more, and the mom lives with her parents and doesn't work. The thinking is that she will appear unfit, and he has the better home and can provide the better life and therefore should have primary custody. This is the argument he wants to make.
If I consider the argument, it does seem to make some sense. I mean, if one parent is unmotivated and has a background of not working and the whole extended family is like that, then I could see where the kid growing up in the more type-A personality parent's home could lead the kid to be more successful both as a child and an adult--but that's not how it typically gets interpreted by the Courts, especially where the worker-bee parent is working a bunch of overtime, including weekends and nights.
To the Court, that non-working parent has all the time in the world to be around their child, where the working parent has a schedule so busy that you can't find time where they will even be around their child. If they work a night-shift and the child is school-aged, there aren't too many hours per day when they can be around their child where either the parent or child is actually awake. The worker-bee parent argue that, "Well, my new spouse is there staying at home or my mom or dad, and it's better for my kid to be around them than with the child's other parent who is a bad influence," but except in the situation where parents are entirely unfit and a guardianship exists, that's not how the Court sees it. The Court will often award less time to a parent who is delegating the raising of the child to a third party and wants each parent to spend quality one-on-one time with his or her child. The Court might even view that hard-working, big-work-ethic parent as choosing their career over their child, just as some people choose drugs or bad people to be around over their children.
Anyway, if you've recently separated from the other parent and just took night-shift job because you think it pays well and are about to go into Court thinking you're going to get full custody and the other parent will hardly have any overnights, you might reconsider, reflect on what I've said, and understand how these things usually go.
April of 2020 makes 20 years that I have been a practicing attorney. So while this may be opinion, it is based on my experience as a family-law attorney over the past few decades. This is not a political post; I am simply aiming to educate the public of how things go in the Oklahoma family law Court system (while doing a bit of self-promotion as well).
Joel K. Mitchell, Attorney-at-Law
MITCHELL LAW OFFICE, P.C.
1318 W Main St in Collinsville
& 1408 S Denver Ave in Tulsa
E-mail or Call (918) 230-5844
Joel K. Mitchell, Attorney