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Child custody and child care: What you should consider

After your divorce, who will be watching the kids during your ex-spouse’s parenting time? On the surface, the answer probably seems obvious: your ex-spouse. The problem, however, is that you have no real way of knowing exactly how “hands-on” your ex will be when it comes to parenting — particularly if they have a high-intensity job that regularly takes them away from home.

Will your children be in the care of a regular nanny? Will they have a rotating string of babysitters? Are grandparents or other relatives going to step in? Discussing these issues before they become a problem can prevent a lot of problems later.

Your parenting plan can spell out what is an acceptable length of time for the children to be in third-party care. It can also detail exactly how that third-party care will be selected — and who is “off the list” when it comes to taking care of your child. If you have an objection to your ex-spouse’s alcoholic father watching the kids, you can specifically exclude him from acting as the children’s babysitter.

You can also ask for the right of first refusal in your parenting plan. That means that — barring an emergency where your ex-spouse has no time to contact you — they would have to ask you if you want to take over child care duties for the kids if they’re called out of town or have to be at work during their parenting time.

Crafting an effective parenting plan without assistance can be almost impossible. An experienced attorney can help you spot gaps in your parenting plan and make suggestions for improvements that help protect the precious bond you have with your children.

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