Your Rights And Responsibilities As A Non-Custodial Parent

It can be hard to accept a non-custodial role as a parent, but doing so doesn't mean you're without rights or options. While the specific limitations vary from one custody case to the next, some basic rights and responsibilities are present, regardless of your level of involvement in your child's life. Once you have a firm grasp of where you stand you can more effectively work within those boundaries, either for the benefit of your child or to improve your position.

Exercising Your Parental Rights

The exact details of your rights will be outlined in the court documents for your child custody case. However, these will normally include your visitation dates and your role in the event that your former spouse is no longer physically able to act as a custodial parent. Both of these scenarios are legal rights that you can fight for, regardless of the desires of other parties involved.

In addition, you have the right to petition the court to alter these rights if you feel they are unjust or are not being abided by. Situations which would warrant a petition include cases where a custodial parent plans to leave the state, or has been denying visitation rights without cause. In both of these cases you'd be well within your rights to involve the courts in order to have your rights as a parent protected.

Living Up to Your Parental Responsibilities

While this idea can become a bit more nebulous, most courts recognize financial support and the maintenance of basic health insurance as part of your responsibilities. Child support orders are usually based on a percentage of your gross earnings, and while various states impose different maximums and minimums on this it is your responsibility to keep accurate records. This ensures that you're making payments for child support which match the percentage ordered, rather than the flat dollar amount.

It's important to note that, in the case of financial support, the court is not obligated to keep tabs on your annual earnings. If your employment situation changes, or your income fluctuates, you're responsible for petitioning for a change to the support ordered by the court. Likewise, you're also responsible for reaching an agreement with the custodial parent regarding meeting places and travel arrangements for your scheduled visitation periods.

It can seem like the deck is stacked against you if you've had primary custodial rights to your child taken away from you. Even so, make sure you have the legal advice, like that available from Caldwell Kennedy & Porter, you need in order to protect those rights you still have, and still meet the obligations you have to your child.