Many people have created a picture in their heads of what it is like to be a parent. Most of the time, this picture entails things like living with your children, cooking them meals, dropping them off to school before work, making sure their homework is done on time, reading them bedtime stories, spending vacations together and celebrating holidays at home.
However, in case of a divorce or if the relationship ends, many parents decide not to live together, which means that they would not be living with the child. After the split, choosing which parent gets to keep the children is legally known as deciding the custody. In some cases, both parents take joint custody of their children which means that the children would get to live with each parent for a certain amount of time. The parents usually take turns or shifts when it comes to whose house the child would stay in. The split is usually not an even 50-50 one.
There are also certain situations when only one parent gets the child’s custody. He/she is called the custodial parent. The parent who does not acquire the custody of the children is known as a non-custodial parent. This happens mostly when the court decides that one parent is unfit to look after the children.
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Types of child custody
In layman language, child custody usually means where the child would be living. It is essential to know that there are two types of custody which are mentioned below:
- Physical custody: This indicates which parent the child lives with
- Legal custody: This indicates your parental right to make substantial choices about your child’s legal, religious, medical and academic decisions.
Based on the circumstances, a non-custodial parent may remain completely non-custodial. This means that their child will not live with them. Moreover, they do not even have the right to make important decisions regarding their child’s life.In addition to this, in case they might not have physical custody but retain legal custody, they can make important and significant decisions about the children’s life.
What is custodial parenting vs non custodial parenting?
There could be multiple factors as to why a parent is unable to keep physical custody of their child after a divorce or breakup. A main reason for this is miles that separate them from their child. In a lot of states across America (and globally as well), a child is required to spend an equal number of nights with both parents in order for it to be considered as a joint custody arrangement.
However, in situations where the parents do not live close to each other for their child to spend equal nights with each of them, then only one parent will be able to get custody. However, the other parent may be allowed visitation rights, which means that they have the right to meet the child and remain in contact with him or her.
Non-custodial parents deal with a lot on their plate and battle with intense emotions of loss over being unable to live with or spend quality time with their child. However, it will be unfair to think that custodial parents have it easy. Although custodial parents have 100% custody of their child, they too may be battling with overwhelming feelings. Parenting is not an easy task at all, and single mothers or fathers are doing the job of two people all on their own, often with little time for themselves to relax.
Custodial parents may also have feelings of animosity toward their ex. Moreover, they may not even want to involve them in their child’s life. However, if you are a parent with 100% custody of your child, and your ex partner is both a great parent and ready to be included in your child’s life, then you should definitely allow the non-custodial parent to be involved in your child’s life.
In a lot of circumstances, a non-custodial parent still holds a few parental rights and can take part in parenting their children. Furthermore, if a non-custodial parent is not legally stopped from being in touch with their child, then they should try to keep some kind of contact. After all, even studies show that children gain advantage if they have both parents in their lives.
Rights of a custodial parent vs a non custodial parent
As non-custodial parents, you can still be there for your child if you have visitation rights. Most of the parents decide on some appropriate visitation agreements without getting the court involved. However, if things are a little difficult in your case, then you can request the court for visitation rights of non custodial parents that ensure that you will be allowed to spend some days and times with your children.
In case you already have a visitation right ordered by the court but the custodial parent refuses to accept them, you can ask the court to enforce those rights. Thus,it will always be to your benefit to request the court for a formal visitation right. Furthermore, you can also contact your child via daily phone calls or video chats.
Furthermore, even if you have an informal visitation arrangement with your ex, it is still a better idea to ask the court for a formal one. Do not forget that being a non-custodial parent means that you’ll need to have proper communication with your ex.
The custodial parent must always tell you about the things going on in your child’s life and involve you in significant moments and decisions that are to be made in your child’s life. This is quite necessary if both parties want to keep a good relationship with each other. Although maintaining a good relationship can be difficult after a messy divorce or breakup, it is necessary to put your personal issues aside to see what’s best for your child. And this requires your involvement in your child’s life for as long as possible.
This can be done if the parents respect and agree to any formal or informal visitation arrangements that are made. Moreover, the custodial parent must always support the child if he/she wants to contact his/her other parent at any given time.
It is also important that the custodial parent informs the other about important and even ordinary aspects of the child’s life. In addition to this, you must also involve your ex in the important events that occur in your child’s life, like recitals, birthdays, sports competitions, and holidays. Moreover, ensure that your ex has all necessary information about your child’s grades, health, social life, and other activities.
As a custodial parent, you should keep in mind that you are not doing this to make things simple for your ex. In fact, you are doing it to make sure that your little one receives all the perks of having both parents in his/her life. Moreover, as the custodial parent, you are in the perfect place to promote a relationship between your child and his/her other parent.
Advice for non custodial fathers
Dealing with a divorce is hard as it is. Then add losing custody of your children in the mix and it can be pretty overwhelming and sad. Most of the time, fathers are the one who end up being the non custodial parent. People forget that fathers have the same emotions and right over a child as mothers do. Here are some tips and advice for non custodial fathers:
- Do maximum research about the case workers and court representatives you meet in the courthouse. Learn about their designation, and their power to make decisions or break decisions.
- Remember that you must go to the hearing. The court will move on with your case even if you are not present for a court hearing. Therefore, it is always better to show up.
- Before signing any document, make sure that you have read and understood it completely. Do not sign a document without understanding it first.
- Understand what the outcome of signing a document would be before you actually sign it.
- Visitation rights and custody are two different processes. A child support agency may not handle these processes.
Getting custody can be hard for both the parents because nobody wants to lose their child. However, regardless of what you are personally going through with your partner, you must always look at the best interests of your child. If you are in a situation where you have to fight for custody, then give this article a read to find out the answers to your questions.