The question of who served as primary caretaker of your children during your marriage is an important one when it comes to the resolution of child custody disputes. If your dispute were to go to trial, for example, a family law court would likely give more weight and power to the person it deems to be the “primary caretaker.”
What does “primary caretaker” mean in the context of a child custody dispute? This term refers to the person who performed the majority of the child care tasks. The primary caretaker was probably the parent who did most of the following tasks:
- Prepare the children for school in the morning.
- Prepare lunches for the children.
- Make sure the children’s hygienic needs are taken care of.
- Drive the children to school and pick them up from day care.
- Prepare dinner for the children.
- Read the children bedtime stories and tuck them in at night.
- Take the children on fun and educational outings during free time.
- Help the children with their homework.
- Take the children to medical appointments.
- Spend time with the children.
- Discipline the children and teach them good values.
The above list represents some of the many tasks completed by parents on a day-to-day basis to ensure that the needs of their children are met. In some cases, the parents divide these responsibilities equally, in which case the court may be more inclined to give the parents an equal amount of power during the debate over child custody. Other times, it’s clear that one parent performed virtually all of the child care tasks, and in these cases, that parent will often receive full physical custody of his or her children.
By understanding your position in terms of being a caretaker for your children while you were married, you’ll have a better idea of how a court will decide your case and how to navigate your child custody dispute.
Source: Findlaw, “Preference for the Primary Caretaker,” accessed June 14, 2018