You’ve been working as an emergency medical technician for several years, and it’s definitely a tough job. You do your best to help your community and play a role as a first-responder in crises.
When you found out that your spouse wanted to divorce you, you couldn’t believe that they felt that way. You couldn’t change their mind, so you started thinking about what would happen to your children. You have a schedule where you can be “on-call” quite often, which makes it hard to know when you’ll be able to have your kids in your care.
Typical EMTs work 9, 12 or 24-hour shifts. You may be on-call on a day when you’re supposed to be off because of another EMT falling ill or be required to come into work suddenly because of a major emergency. Since your schedule sometimes varies from week to week, it has been difficult to come up with a custody schedule that will work for you. What can you do?
Talk to your employer
The first thing to do is to talk to your employer. There may be an opportunity for you to set firmer hours so that you know when you’ll be home. For example, you could ask to work four 12-hour shifts rather than working five nine-hour shifts throughout the week. That would give you three days off and more time with your children.
Discuss flexibility with your spouse
Your spouse knows the job you do. Talk about the flexibility you need following the divorce and frame your request around how flexibility will benefit the children the most. You may be able to set up a schedule that focuses on the days you know you’ll be home and also allows for a third party to watch your child if you are called in.
Until your child is older, it may be difficult to work variable shifts. This is something to consider as you try to negotiate your custody arrangements.