What’s It Like for a Custodial Parent

What’s It Like for a Custodial Parent

With divorce proceedings for couples with children come the critical topic of child custody. And shared custody is not usually the best for the child or children involved. Thus, the concept of custodial parenting has been introduced. It consists in getting custody of a child or children for most of the time. To be the primary guardian needs knowledge and research about your jurisdiction’s laws. Child custody lawyers are the ones better equipped to guide you through this process.

In today’s post, we’ve compiled some tips to guide you to be the custodial parent of your child or children.

What is a custodial parent?

The legal definition of a custodial parent is someone who is granted the physical custody of the child (or children) for the majority of the time. Thus, the custodial parent is the one most responsible for raising the child. Even though the parents have agreed to co-parent or the non-custodial parent is still very involved in the raising of the child.

Generally, if the child has lived with you for most of his or her life, you most likely will regard yourself as the custodial parent. However, the courts don’t always think so. In the eyes of the legal system, not all parents with the sole physical custody of the child (or children) are considered the custodial parents. One example is a single mother raising a child, and the father not in the picture. She may be legally obligated to file for child custody so she can become the custodial parent. If you are in a situation where you are not sure if the courts see you as the custodial parent, check the custody laws in your state and seek the advice of child custody lawyers.

As we mentioned earlier, custodial parents have the full physical custody of children. They hold the most parenting responsibilities and obligations about anything involving the kids. If a non-custodial parent is required, the level of involvement will vary and depend on the relationship and how the parents get along.

What are the benefits of being a custodial parent?

Having more personal, one-on-one time with the child is one of the significant benefits of custodial parenting. Even if there is a shared child visitation schedule between a divorced couple, the custodial parent will still spend more time with the child.

This means you have the priceless opportunity to get to see your children regularly, be involved in their daily activities, nurture and sustain their interests, provide them guidance, and be overall present in their lives. Being a sole custodial parent is still hard work. Nevertheless, the payoff of seeing your kids grow and develop is precious.

Legal and Sole Physical Custody

When the custodial parent gets physical and sole legal custody, then the custodial parent doesn’t share the responsibility with the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent will make all the critical decisions regarding the child’s health, welfare, and education. The non-custodial parent doesn’t have to be consulted when making these decisions unless the courts say so.

The custodial parent with physical and sole legal custody has the option to choose where to live with the child with an exception. Complying with the visitation orders is compulsory. This stipulation means that the child can’t live or move away from the non-custodial parent if it would affect the visitation orders. If for some reason the custodial parent needs to move with the child for a work opportunity or for whatever reason, then he or she should ask the courts for permission. In most cases, the legal system will allow the move with the adjustment of the visitation order. Some arrangements include the custodial parent paying for the child to travel to see the non-custodial parent, without affecting the child’s school schedule.

Professional Advice

Child custody is always a complex topic; even with the most amenable divorced couples, the subject is a complicated one to tackle. Thus child custody lawyers are available to provide the guidance you will need as you go through the process. Employing an attorney will lessen the stresses of the process. Whether you are the custodial or the non-custodial parent, you will have to be knowledgeable with the whole process so as not to put your child in any more complicated situation.

Daniel L. Fischer

As a Family and Divorce Lawyer practicing for more than 30 years, I sometimes handle other types of cases for longstanding clientele. I’ve been happily married to my college sweetheart for over 36 years. Together we have 6 grown children and 9 grandchildren that make our world go round.