Working in law enforcement takes a certain type of personality. You need to be authoritative, confident and professional. At the same time, you work under the constant stress of often seeing people at the worst moments of their lives while making sure that you make it home safely after the end of each shift.
Leaving all of this at work in order to go home and enter into the role of parent isn't always easy. During your marriage, you at least had the other parent in the house to help shield your children from your job. Now that you are divorcing, you will need to find a way to manage each side of your life in order to enjoy your time with your children. This is only one aspect of the transitions you will go through during the divorce, since creating a child custody plan that takes into account all of the unique aspects of your job presents a challenge.
Parenting plan considerations
As you and the other parent attempt to figure out how to move forward in terms of custody, you may want to consider the following challenges you face as a police officer:
- Your role as an authority figure while in uniform differs from the authority you have with your children. It's not always easy to leave your badge at the door and switch to the loving, supportive parent you want to be.
- Police departments don't close, which means shift work. If you work the swing or graveyard shift, you will need to plan your time with your children around it, which can require a significant amount of planning.
- Shift work and long hours could leave you sleep-deprived. This could make it difficult for you to enjoy your time with the kids if you can't keep your eyes open or have a short fuse due to being tired.
- You may not always have the ability to predict your work schedule. Even if you have a basic outline of your work week, things could change rapidly from day to day or week to week, which means you may not be available for custody exchanges.
- You see atrocities all the time that might make you worry for the safety of your children. You could alienate your children by over-protecting them.
- You need to find a way to effectively communicate with your future former spouse and your children, especially when your schedule becomes erratic. Keep in touch as much as possible, and keep everyone as informed as you can.
- Make sure to schedule vacation time. Even if you don't go anywhere, it provides you with uninterrupted time with your children.
Working in your chosen profession often puts a great deal of strain on you. Imagine the amount of stress it puts on your children. If you can work toward a custody agreement that addresses all of the above issues and more, you can start your new life knowing that you can retain, and perhaps improve, your relationships with your children.