A non-custodial parent is defined as a parent who does not have primary legal and/or physical custody of their child. This situation usually arises after a separation or divorce, where one parent will maintain custody of a child instead of sharing joint custody.
There are two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody pertains to where the child will physically live. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the responsibility to make decisions about a child’s life regarding education, religion, health care, and other matters. In most instances, the non-custodial parent refers to the person that does not have physical custody of the child. It is also important to keep in mind that in most instances, a parent may maintain legal custody of a child without having physical custody.
The non-custodial parent generally has visitation rights set by the court. Child visitation arrangements are determined by the court on a case-by-case basis. The visitation rights are established based on several factors including the location of the parents, whether there has been evidence of abuse or neglect by a parent, and the schedules of the parents. Therefore, some non-custodial parents may only be able to see their children during the day under supervision, while others may be able to claim physical custody of the child every weekend.
Non-custodial parents often worry that they won’t be able to spend time with their child. They may not be aware that although they do not have primary custody of the child, they still have certain rights. Typically, a non-custodial parent is still allowed to build and maintain a relationship with their child. Although these rights vary from state to state, here are a few laws that help protect the rights of non-custodial parents:
Child custody matters can be extremely difficult to manage. If you are in the midst of a child custody disagreement, the right thing to do is seek the guidance of a knowledgeable family law attorney as soon as possible. Your counsel will help you understand your rights as a non-custodial parent or represent your interests as a custodial parent.