My wife works outside the home, therefore spends little time with the child(ren). Should I be awarded custody?

This can be a Catch-22 situation for women: judges will expect women to work after getting a divorce since long-term alimony is rarely awarded these days. But if a woman works, she may be unable to spend a great deal or a sufficient amount of time with her child(ren). Some judges believe that a woman who works will always be a neglectful mother. The woman is penalized by the economics of being a single mother.

Judges often consider the amount of time available to spend with the child(ren) as a legitimate factor in deciding child custody. If the mother works long hours and rarely has time for the child(ren) while the father has a more flexible work schedule, due to the circumstances the father is likely to become the custodial parent.

The father is also more likely to be in a better-paying and more-flexible position at work since he more likely worked throughout the marriage. A formerly stay-at-home mother will probably be entering the work force at the low end of the economic spectrum after divorce, with fewer perks and less chance for flexibility in time management. Indeed, it is a fact that the father often remarries and, thus, his new wife can become a stepmother to care for the child(ren). This is a nightmare that most single mothers have and must face as a potential reality.

That said, judges generally do not consider the financial status of the father versus the financial status of the mother when deciding child custody. Child support awards are generally used to handle differences in income and provide for the children’s financial needs.

If, however, the mother lives in such poor financial conditions that the children’s health or welfare would suffer if placed with the mother, a judge may consider this in deciding child custody. Most judges would be hesitant to do so and would most probably use all other resources to resolve this financial dilemma. These cases are admittedly rare and will probably not be relevant to your particular case.