Custodial Parent: What is the difference between custodial and non custodial parent?

Taking child custody can be confusing oftentimes, especially if you are dealing with it for the very first time. Whether you are in the planning process of a divorce or just at the beginning of a custody case with your ex, you must study the basic principles of being a custodial parent so that you can help build a stronger case for yourself. Considering this, we have formulated a brief informative guide to help you understand what is a custodial parent and what are their responsibilities? Please stay with us till the end.

What is a Custodial Parent?

Often the parents wonder as to what the term custodial parent means? A custodial parent is explained as the parent which cares and lives for their minor child all of the time. This can also be contrasted with the noncustodial parent who might have the child’s custody on a limited basis or might have visitation rights. In addition, some parents are separated but have equal physical custody termed as a joint custody arrangement in which both are considered custodial parents. Such arrangements can be made informally by the custodial parents and with permission granted through court.

What are the responsibilities of the custodial parent?

The rights for the custodial parent rights different from those who have physical custody of the child or if the parent has legal custody. Moreover, if the custodial parent has sole legal custody then they are entitled to raise the child and have the right to make decisions regarding their health and welfare without even consulting with the non-custodial parent. In addition, the parent with sole custody (both physical and legal) may make medical decisions that also includes the decision about education and schools and other similar decisions unless a court has placed an order or divorce decree which provides specific instructions pertaining to the responsibilities of the non-custodial and custodial parent.

Moreover, the custodial parent cannot move away from the responsibilities of their child. If the non-custodial parent has complete visitation rights then he/she must comply with the orders and let the child meet with the non-custodial parent as per the court orders. In addition, a typical scenario can be a child visiting his mother when the father has sole custody.

What are the rights of the custodial parents when legal custody is shared?

In a case where the custodial parent has sole physical custody of the child but joint legal custody with the other parent, then there’s a difference between the responsibilities and rights of the custodial parent. But what exactly is the difference?

While the custodial parent may have control over the daily activities of the child and has a physical and general role, the noncustodial parent having joint custody has a right to participate in the major decision-making of their child regarding raising their child. For instance, the noncustodial parent has complete authority to make decisions about school the child attends, medical decisions in concert with the other parent, and also has a right to participate in making major decisions.

In other contexts, a parent with joint custody may also contribute towards the upbringing of the child even if the child may usually live with the other parent who is also a custodial parent. Moreover, the parents with joint legal custody are also required to cooperate with the child’s nurturing activities regardless of whether one parent or other has physical custody.

What is the difference between the custodial parent and non-custodial parent?

In any divorce situation that involves children, it is necessary to evaluate what is actually the difference between a non-custodial and a custodial parent. As discussed previously, a custodial parent is the one with whom the child resides for the majority of the time and also has sole physical custody. On the other hand, being a noncustodial parent is not a bad thing, in fact, it is a win-win situation for both parents.

Moreover, non-custodial parents are also involved in a child’s life as much as custodial parents as they have similar responsibilities and rights for the child. However, it is entirely dependent on the custody determination.

That’s all for the guide. We hope that this guide must have enlightened you with the basics of a custodial parent.

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