Returning to Work after a Separation or Divorce? A Great Parenting Plan Makes all the Difference for Career Success!

By Eric Letts - Director Fair Parenting Project

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For many people, a separation or divorce goes hand-in-hand with a career change. There are a variety of reasons for example a stay-at-home parent returning to work or the implosion of a family business ending current employment. This new career is one of many major life changing events faced by a separating parent. The other major changes include a new home, loss of financial security, loss of marriage, and a custodial schedule, or parenting plan, for their children. It is overwhelming!

A good parenting plan can make or break a separated parent's success with a new career. It is important for all parents (mom's and dad's) to consider their career success. Success brings stability to your life - financially, socially and emotionally. Children who are engaged in community activities are more resilient and so too are adults with career satisfaction. By taking care of yourself, you are able to be a better parent.

What does a good parenting plan look like? It could come in a variety of forms depending on your career needs. Generally, however, for Monday to Friday 9-5ish positions, a set split week schedule works much better than a week to week schedule or some other floating schedule. The Fair Parenting Project is based upon a set split week schedule whereby the children are with one parent every Monday and Tuesday, with the other parent every Wednesday and Thursday, and Fridays through Monday morning alternate. All of the children's transfers between houses take place with the children going to school from one house in the morning and returning home to the other house on a transfer day.

By fixing what days of the week a parent has the children, each household gains a lot of autonomy to plan and schedule their lives. For example, if one parent is passionate that a child should attend Scouts, that activity can be solely on that parent's days. With week to week schedules, parents are often embroiled in scheduling conflicts because which day of the week that works for an activity at one house, does not necessarily work at the other house. What does this have to do with work and careers? Fixing the days when a parent does not have children frees them up to schedule work consistently, take a night class, or join social activities for mental wellness and networking opportunities.

Without the set schedule, a parent is behind the eight ball for engaging in these activities; always having to leave early, missing every second week or stressed about childcare (both the quality and the cost!). As well, it is much easier for your co-workers and boss to keep track of your availability if it is the same every week. Because your schedule is consistent, you are more valuable to your team.

For many of the same reasons, this format of parenting plan is often better for children and their ability to partake in community activities and services. There are a lot of considerations and a parent’s career success is one of them.

About the author

Eric Letts is Director of the Fair Parenting Project. Formerly a family law attorney, you can follow the project via the website or on twitter: @FairParenting

Image credit: Señor Codo


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