Courts steer far clear of considerations of employment where custody is concerned, because of the implication that the child is being bought and sold as an economic bargaining chip. Of course, reality is that economics plays a great part in every judge's decision, but on the record, the other parent's employment circumstance is not a primary factor that the court considers.
However, if the employment is causing difficulties for the primary caretaker
in caring for the child, then the court must consider it as a relevant factor. But the consideration is not the employment -- it's the parent's exercise of his or her custodial activities that's at issue.
In my opinion, the relevant questions are: (1) whether or not the custodial parent
will be able to comply with any new visitation
arrangement, and (2) the child's reasonable preferences as to which parent with whom the child wishes to reside. I suggest that the other factors, while relevant, are of limited importance. My argument would be that the custodial parent is already unable to follow the existing visitation agreement, because the stepparent is actually providing custodial care -- and therefore, the court should not penalize the noncustodial parent, by effectively making a nonparent the legal custodian.
Frequently, the child's wishes are given little weight, despite the fact being part of the law. Children are extremely malleable, depending upon the parent who the child is trying to please at the time that a question of preference is asked. So, I wouldn't count on this as a strong factor. I would simply put it to the court that the other parent isn't really exercising custody at present, and moving and changing employment will only exacerbate this status quo. Therefore, you should be awarded primary custody.
Hope this helps.
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