Non Custodial Parent Rights
Losing full-time access to a child due to a divorce or end of a relationship is difficult to every parent. However, it is always up to the court to decide who the custodial and non-custodial parent becomes. The parent with physical custody of the child is the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is one who does not have physical custody of the child. Nonetheless, a non-custodial parent can have legal custody.
Non-custodial parent rights are determined by whether both parents have joint legal custody. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions about the child’s life. Though rare, if the non-custodial parent does not enjoy joint legal custody, then the only right they have is visitation rights as directed by the court.
A non-custodial parent has the right to enjoy visitation and spend the court allotted time with the child. Thus, the other parent who enjoys legal custody has no right to deprive the non-custodial parent visitation through not releasing the child. This is termed as an attempt to ruin the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent and may lead to loss of physical custody. The court recognizes that a child’s best interest is to have strong and healthy relationships with both parents. Thus, the court may review custody orders so that the parent willing to cooperate may spend more time with the child.
Non-custodial Parent Rights
Unless a court orders otherwise, non-custodial parents have the same rights as custodial parents. They can participate in teacher-parent meetings, receive educational records and report cards. If the custodian parent denies the non-custodian parent these rights, he/she is allowed to seek court intervention that may lead to deprivation of custodian rights. The non-custodial parent has the right to information. If the custodial parent declines to provide information about the child, a lawsuit may be filed. For example, Petitioner vs. Rotterdam-Mohonasen Central School District. Eric Page’s parents were legally separated, and he lived with the mother who was the custodian parent. The father Mr.Page tried to get involved in the son’s education through contacting the educators and school but the school opted to follow directions from Mrs.Page. They denied all requests by Mr.Page. Mrs.Page believed that as the non-custodian parent, Mr.Page had abandoned all his interest in their son’s education. A lawsuit was filed against the school, and Mr.Page was awarded full access to Eric’s education records and teachers in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act that allows inspection of school records by both parents.
Just like the custodian parent, they should be fully involved in their child’s life. They should communicate with the child regularly through whichever means they deem convenient. It may be through telephone, emails or regular mails. The custodian parent may contact the non-custodian parent and involve them in the child’s emotional and academic issues. However, this depends on the child, history with the other parent and context of the problem. This makes the non-custodian parent feel recognized, and it also builds the child-parent relationship.
Non-custodial Parent Rights with Joint Legal Custody
A non-custodial parent with joint legal custody has the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing. These decisions include; education, medical or religion. Moreover, they are expected to participate in raising the child regardless of where the child lives.
Non-custodial Parent Rights Without Legal Custody
Almost all modern courts offer joint legal custody. Therefore, a parent without joint legal custody must have been deprived of reasons such as; drug abuse, violence or unwillingness to cooperate with the other parent. In such a case, the rights to this parent are limited by the court since it believes that the parent may have some negative impact in the child.
However, a non-custodial parent who was not deprived legal custody may participate in the child’s upbringing. For example; the parent can request information about the child like medical information and school records. A parent who desires to have such information regularly should request it from the custodian parent as long as the court has not discouraged such communication. However, they should not harass the custodian parent for such information.
Legal Tips for Non-custodial Parents
Follow visitation schedule: it is crucial for non-custodial parents to adhere to visitation schedules that are set by the court. If for any reason such as work commitment they cannot follow the schedule, they should communicate with the court to make changes.
The child’s best interests come first: a non-custodial parent may feel frustrated for not having their child by their side always. This may cause them to act in their interest or try to frustrate the custodian parent that should not be the case. The child’s best interest should come first. They should ensure that the child gets a safe place to stay and work together to ensure that the child has a smooth life regardless of not having both parents at hand.
Pay for child support: being a non-custodial parent does not mean that you should stop paying for child support. You are still a parent, and it should be best to assist the custodial parent with child support. This ensures that your child has the best while growing up and never lacks anything. However, some non-custodial parents are charged by the court to pay child support if the custodial parent is not financially stable. Depending on the agreement, the non-custodial parent may pay for service and buy the required items directly or give the custodial parent cash.
Plan ahead for visits: this could be through purchasing your child’s best snacks and food items to ensure that the child is comfortable. They should also ensure that the child has enough activities to do and places to visit without get
ting bored. This may include; going to the movies, playing games and sports events. They make the child feel at home and cared for by their parent.
Unless restricted by the court, a non-custodial parent has every right to access the child’s school, and medical records, unsupervised visitation, regular communication with the child and to attend any events their child participates in.