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Child Custody | Family

What Rights Do I Have As A Non-Custodial Parent?

7 min read
Philip Ahn, Attorney

by Philip Ahn, Attorney

As a non-custodial parent, you have legal rights regarding the upbringing of your child or children. Although the custodial parent has physical custody, the noncustodial parent typically has the right to visitation and communication with the child. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, and in some cases, non-custodial parents may share legal custody with the custodial parent.

Child Custody Cases

Child custody custodial cases can be complex and emotionally taxing-charged, particularly when there is a disagreement between the custodial and noncustodial parents involved. Legal custody, which refers to the right to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, can be awarded solely to one parent or shared between both parents.

In contrast, physical custody refers to where the children will primarily reside. Ultimately, the court’s decision on the custody of the child will be based on what is deemed to be in the best interests of the child or children involved.

The Legal Rights Possessed By The Non-Custodial Parent

The non-custodial parent has the legal right to be involved in major decisions concerning the minor’s welfare, such as:

  • Education and medical treatment
  • Religious upbringing
  • The right to challenge any custody decisions made by the court
  • Additionally, the non-custodial parent has the right to reasonable visitation or parenting time with the child, as determined by the court or agreed upon in a parenting plan

The Granting Or Withholding Of Custodial Rights To A Parent Is Not Dependent On Child Support

The granting or withholding of custody rights should not be based on whether one parent is paying child support to the other. In other words, a parent cannot be denied custody of their child just because they cannot pay child support.

It’s important to remember that the minor’s well-being is the primary concern in determining custody arrangements, and the financial obligations of one parent should not be used as a tool to limit the other parent’s involvement in their child’s life.

The custodial decision should be made with the child’s best interests in mind, and both parents should be encouraged to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with their child, regardless of any financial considerations.

The Right Of A Non-Custodial Parent To Exercise Decision-Making Authority For Their Child

In cases where the noncustodial parent is awarded legal custody, they have the right to participate in decision-making for their child or children alongside the custodial parent. This may include decisions about:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Religious upbringing, among other matters

However, it’s important to note that even when non-custodial parents are awarded legal custody, they may still be required by court order to pay child maintenance and may have limited visitation rights.

A Non-Custodial Parent’s Legal Custody Rights

A noncustodial parent’s legal custody rights refer to their ability to make important decisions regarding the upbringing of their child or children. This can include decisions about education, healthcare, and religious upbringing and is typically awarded by a court alongside physical custodial arrangements and visitation rights.

The court’s decision will be based on what is deemed to be in the best interests of the child or children involved, including day-to-day decisions considering both parents’ wishes.

The Right To A Child’s Physical Custody

A court typically awards the right to a child’s physical custody and determines where the child will primarily reside. Both parents may be awarded joint physical custody, or one parent may be awarded sole physical custody while the other parent is granted visitation rights.

The court’s decision will be based on what is deemed in the best interests of the child or children involved in the custody case.

The Entitlement Of A Non-Custodial Parent To Receive Information

Noncustodial parents may be entitled to receive specific information about their child’s welfare, such as access to school records and medical information, particularly when they have joint legal custody.

However, the extent of a noncustodial parent’s legal rights can depend on the custody arrangements and any court orders that may be in place, which can also outline the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule and any legal responsibilities they may have, such as child support payments.

The court determines custody decisions based on the child’s best interests, considering other factors, such as the child’s relationship with both parents, their day-to-day needs, and potential issues, such as child abuse.

The Rights Of Non-Custodial Parents Must Be Upheld

The other parent’s legal rights must be respected and upheld in child custody cases, including the right to visitation and involvement in major decisions regarding the child’s well-being.

This is especially crucial when the non-custodial parent has joint legal custody or when one parent has been granted specific legal or physical custody rights, as these decisions can significantly impact the child’s life and benefit from the involvement of both parents.

A Non-Custodial Parent Can Lose Visitation Rights Under Certain Circumstances

The other parent can lose their visitation rights and other parent’s rights under certain circumstances, such as when the other parent believes the parent is unfit to see the children.

In such cases, the custody agreement may be modified or terminated, and the children’s non-custodial parental rights and legal responsibility may be affected, even if they have joint custody.

Who Qualifies As A Non-Custodial Parent?

A non-custodial parent is typically defined as a parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child or children. This parent may still have legal custodial entitlements and be entitled to visitation, spend time with their child, and share essential decision-making responsibilities with the custodial parent.

What Are The Rights Granted To Non-Custodial Parents?

Non-custodial parents typically have the right to visitation with their child, depending on their custody agreement. They may make certain decisions regarding the child’s education and healthcare.

However, the custodial parent usually retains sole legal custody and decision-making authority for the child, while the noncustodial parent may be responsible for paying child support.

What Are The Visitation Privileges Afforded To The Non-Custodial Parent?

Visitation privileges for non-custodial parents vary depending on the child custody arrangement. Still, they generally include the following:

  • Regular visitation with the child
  • The ability to participate in the child’s upbringing and decision-making
  • Access to the child’s medical and educational records

The court will determine the visitation schedule based on the following:

  • Child’s best interest
  • The child and parent’s history
  • Age
  • Relationship with the parents and other relevant factors

How Can The Noncustodial Parent’s Rights Be Expressed In Terms Of The Child’s Well-Being?

Parents without child physical custody have certain legal rights and responsibilities tied to their children’s welfare, especially when the children are not in their custody. These non-custodial parent’s rights may include the following:

  • Regular communication with the children through video calls
  • Participation in critical decision-making processes that affect the children’s best interest
  • The right to spend quality time with their children even if they don’t have sole custody
  • Compliance with the custody order or parenting plan that outlines each parent’s role in the children’s lives

Common examples of these rights include the noncustodial parent’s ability to provide the following:

  • Educational
  • Medical
  • And religious input

The goal is to ensure that the children benefit from the involvement of both parents in their lives, regardless of who has child custody.

Hire An Unbundled Family Attorney To Protect Your Child Custody Rights

Do you need clarity about your non-custodial parent rights now? Hiring an unbundled family attorney is a wise decision to ensure that your noncustodial rights are protected, especially when dealing with issues related to custody agreements, visitation rights, and court orders.

An Unbundled attorney can guide you on legal issues, help you understand your rights as a noncustodial parent, and advocate for your best interests and those of your child’s other parent.

The legal fees of an Unbundled attorney are budget-friendly, typically falling between $500 to $1500., whereas a regular lawyer could demand $5000 or more in charges.

While Unbundled legal services may not be ideal for all cases, they can provide significant advantages in situations where you only need limited assistance from an attorney.

Contact an Unbundled family lawyer to safeguard your non-custodial parental rights.

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