How do you keep your career on track when you’re in the middle of custody fight? It isn’t easy. Even though you’ve worked hard to provide for your family, all that hard work can actually count against you when it comes to a custody battle. The judge may decide that you’re basically “too busy” with your career to be an effective parent most of the time and award primary physical custody to your ex.

How can you keep your career from being a detriment to your custody case? How can you keep your custody battle from destroying your career? Here are some tips:

  1. Communicate your changing needs with your bosses. Most employers will work with their good employees to make some accommodations so that you can meet with your attorney, attend court, go to therapy or do whatever it takes to get a fair shake in court — as long as they know what is going on.
  2. Make sure that your focus stays on your children. If you’ve never been deeply involved with the kids during their weekly routine because of your career, be prepared to explain to the judge why that is changing. What prompted you (aside from the divorce) to decide that you needed to change things?
  3. Have a plan for all the potential issues. Do you have time to get the kids ready for school? What happens if you’re working late? Who will be there to make sure they’re fed, get their homework done and are tucked into bed?
  4. Realize that you’re going to have to follow the same rules you expect your ex-spouse to follow. If, for example, you think it’s okay for you to hire a nanny, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince a judge that your ex-spouse is a negligent parent for leaving the kids with a sitter.

Finally, you have to learn to compartmentalize everything you have to handle. Focus on the kids when you’re with them, and let an experienced advocate focus on the custody battle for you.