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Parenting time for parents with difficult schedules

Some parents have difficult work schedules that make life challenging to navigate. Being a single parent has a way of multiplying those challenges.

Let's say you're a California firefighter and your work schedule involves you spending more than one day on duty and spending the night at the fire station. You'll have to leave your family behind while you're at work.

Once a firefighter becomes a single parent, however, things become more complicated. How do you manage a half-and-half parenting schedule when you have a work schedule like this? And, what will happen if you're not able to fulfill your designated parenting time?

Consequences of not exercising your designated parenting time

Sometimes, a single mother or father isn't able to fulfill his or her parenting responsibilities. These responsibilities might have been defined in an out-of-court divorce settlement. Or a judge may have ordered them.

As a consequence, parents who violate their divorce agreement could be fined, could lose some of their parental rights or suffer other negative consequences. Because there may be consequences like this, if you suspect that you may not be able to fulfill your parenting obligations, be sure to discuss the matter with your family law attorney immediately. Divorce agreements are not set in stone and modifications can be requested to bring better balance to your work requirements and parental obligations.

Getting a parenting schedule that fits your needs

A skilled family law attorney can work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to organize a parenting schedule and child custody arrangements that fit your work schedules best. When doing this, it's very important to be realistic about what you can and cannot do as a parent because if you fail in the duties you agree to, it could have negative consequences on your parental and/or visitation rights.

As a firefighter, this might mean that you can't be a 50-50 parent, and you might need to give up some of your parenting time to your ex-spouse. However, some firefighters and their ex-spouses will have enough flexibility in their schedules to make a 50-50 parenting plan work. It all depends on your and your ex-spouse's willingness to work together and willingness to adapt to a situation that fits you and your children best.

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