WHAT IS A PRIMARY CARETAKER?
When determining who gets custody of the children, the role of the primary caretaker may factor in. Sometimes, this person gets preference over the other parent, seeing as how they have been more involved with the children before the divorce. While both parents often do still get access to the children, the court understands that it may be in the children’s best interests to still get the same level of care they have grown accustomed to.
For instance, one parent may generally stay home and care for the kids directly, while the other travels for work. That second parent would likely need to hire a nanny or give the kids to a family member, and he or she may not be able to provide the same care even when spending time with the kids just due to a lack of experience.
Things that the primary caretaker may do include:
- Planning activities
- Going on trips
- Participating in events, games and other leisure activities
- Helping the child with schoolwork
- Assisting with dressing, grooming and bathing
- Making meals for the child
- Taking the child to the doctor
- Washing clothes
- Buying necessary items
- Helping the child develop basic skills, like reading and writing
- Meeting with teachers
- Going to sporting events and other activities that the child participates in
Essentially, the primary caretaker takes on a more active role in the child’s development. This does not mean that the other parent should not see the child, but it may mean they get more time with the primary caretaker to allow this relationship to continue. As you head to court, make sure you understand what rights and options you have.