Q. I have a job opportunity in another county that I am considering, but my son’s mother says we will have to change the parenting plan so that he can live with her during the school week. Although there will be an hour commute each way, I will be able to get my child to school and pick him up from the after school program. Why would we have to change the plan? What’s good ex-etiquette?
A. Because your son will be sitting in a car for an hour before school, and an hour after school while going to and from your home. When he lives with you, all of his friends will be an hour away. If he participates in extra-curricular activities, say soccer, for instance, his practices and games will be an hour away. If he is ill and must go home from school when he is scheduled to be with you, his home will be an hour away. Therefore, if you must move, a change in parenting plan does seem like it is in the best interest of your child.
This is when I hear, “But I have to work! If I don’t I won’t be able to pay child support. Are the courts going to dock me time because I have to work?”That’s not the point. The courts don’t dock parents for working, but if you live an hour away you may not be able to have an equally shared parenting plan during the school year. To compensate, your child’s parenting plan may offer you more time in the Summer and Breaks—or start looking for another job near your child. That’s good ex-etiquette.