Divorce changes everything in the family. But the most significant difference is the fact that children and non-custodial parents have to live separately. The non-custodial parent is often considered a negative thing but it isn’t as bad as many people think.
Despite non-custodial parents who don’t have physical custody of their children, they may have visitation rights. Besides, there are many non-custodial parents who live as happily as custodial parents, not to mention they can stay involved in children’s lives.
What Does Non-Custodial Parent Mean?
Becoming a non-custodial parent means you don’t have physical custody of your children. However, a non-custodial parent may have legal custody which means he may have contact with the children, pay child support, and stay involved in raising the children.
Non-custodial parenting isn’t similar to shared or co-parenting, in which the children live an equal amount of time with each parent. Mother or father without physical custody may visit or have contact with the children but not live together.
How is the custody determined? After a divorce, a parent may ask for a custody. The determination can be made through a temporary or permanent order. It can also be made together with an order for child support.
What makes a parent not retain a physical custody? The court considers several things when determining physical custody, one of the most common is distance. If mother and father live in the same area, there’s a chance for shared parenting. But if they live too far away, it’s more likely only one parent has the custody.
In some cases, a parent may try to block the other parent’s access to contact or visit the children. This can happen for many reasons like physical abuse or safety. But unless a custodial parent legally prevent from having contact, a non custodial parent is allowed to maintain his relationship with the children.
If you’re having non-custodial parenting, it’s important to know your rights as a non-custodial parent. Of course, you have the right to ask for a visitation agreement that allows you to spend time with your children. But you can also arrange the agreement informally.
Unless written differently in the agreement, you have the rights to get involved in children’s lives. You may ask to be included in important decisions like education or health so the kids can notice your presence.
The key point of being a non-custodial parent is putting your feelings aside in order to give the best for your child. Your marriage or relationship may be over but your entity as a parent won’t stop there.
How Non-Custodial Parenting Affect For Children’s Future
Dealing with non-custodial parent responsibilities is quite difficult for parents. In some states, visitation is known as parenting time, in which a parent will pick his children up and spend time together. A question now lies in how this parenting could affect children’s future.
When both parents have a commitment to raise the children just like before the divorce, the children won’t be significantly affected. Although it may be a real struggle, in the beginning, kids will get used to it and understand that their parents aren’t together.
That becomes the issue is if one side doesn’t comply with the parenting plan for non-custodial parent as enacted by the court. Either the custody parent makes up her mind and not allow the other parent to have contact or the non-custodial parent misses the visit, there are consequences.
Related Article: Parallel Parenting for Divorced Parents
Children need the presence of their mother and father. One parent can’t actually replace the other as both have different roles and contributions in children’s mental development. A non-custodial parent doesn’t show up may negatively impact children’s mental health. They feel sad, angry, and anxious, they wonder why another parent didn’t pick them up.
When the children have to live with sadness, anger and anxiety, it can cause a mental disorder. In some cases, non custodial parent doesn’t show up to pick up the children at school or friend’s house. Of course, this experience can be traumatizing, embarrassing and stressful for them.
Not only can violation of non-custodial parenting time impact children’s mental health but it also impacts child support. When one parent doesn’t care enough about visitation, chances are that he pays less attention to child support. Of course, visitation and child support are two different things but they may be interrelated.
How to deal with this non-custodial parenting issue? To guarantee children’s future and to prevent the unwanted occurrence, there are several things to do if non-custodial parent skips the visitation.
Be sure child’s school has the contact information of the non custodial parent as well as the court order. When he doesn’t show up to pick the children, the school can contact the non custodial parent. If he misses the visitation, the school should contact the other parent. If a non custodial parent keeps missing the visitation, a modification of child support order can be considered.
What We Learn from Non-custodial Parents
Some people believe that being a parent without physical custody is a negative thing. It’s often related to bad behavior, physical abuse, or inability to take care of children. But being a non-custodial parent isn’t that bad. There are some things we can learn from them.
- Some Parents Are Responsible
In non-custodial parenting, parents without physical custody are required to pay child support every month. It helps custodial parents to raise and take care of children as well as pay for health insurance, education, and other expenses. Despite some non-custodial parents are deadbeats, there are many responsible parents who pay child support on time.
We can learn that being a parent isn’t about being around with the kids all the time. It’s more about how we take our responsibility to make sure their needs are fulfilled so that they can grow well.
- Life Doesn’t Always Go As Expected
No couples expect a divorce. But life doesn’t always go as expected and you can’t do anything but accept it. What’s worse than a divorce? It’s when your ex had remarried and brought a new parent for your children. Non custodial parents have to accept the fact that their children call another man ‘daddy’, which is quite bothering.
This is one of the most annoying things of dealing with non-custodial parent rights, especially when your children enthusiastically talk about their new father during your visitation. How to do about it? Of course, listen to your children as if you’re enthusiastic to know more stories.
- Non Custodial Parents May Miss Things
There are times when non custodial parents miss important things like school play, parent conference or holidays. Moreover when they live too far away from the children, chances are that they miss a lot of stories like birthday parties or graduation.
Even if you live closer with the kids, you won’t be able to be the first to know. But this is how non-custodial parenting works so you have got to accept it. Of course, it’s hard for all parents especially when the children get older.
- Non Custodial Parents Can Enjoy Their Freedom
Non custodial parents have much more free time than custodial parents. They don’t have to babysit or read bedtime stories, they can travel anywhere without worrying about someone waiting at home, and other things they can’t do with children at home. Some parents enjoy this freedom but some others feel guilty.
- Non-Custodial Parents VS People’s Opinions
Non-custodial parenting for men isn’t as hard as for women. Many people consider that a man becoming a non-custodial parent is normal, but it’s not the case with women. They are supposed to be mothers, so it just seems not right if a woman doesn’t have physical custody.
Dealing with people’s opinion can be a real struggle, especially for women. Everyone keeps telling that you should raise the kids. But there’s one thing to learn, being a mother is tough enough without worrying about others’ opinions.
What Can We Do to Start Non-Custodial Parenting?
Going through non-custodial parenting may not come easy. These parents only see their children occasionally or on weekends so maintaining the bond can be a real struggle. But it has been clear that non-custodial parent rights allow them to stay involved in children’s lives including in education and development.
According to research, a parent who is still involved in the child’s life can help maintain the child’s mental health. It can also help him recover from the traumatizing divorce, in addition to enhancing self-esteem and social-emotional bonds.
Here are several things that you can do to be a great non custodial parent:
- Stay Involved at Home
Not having physical custody is not a reason to disappear from children’s life. You can stay involved to make sure they grow and develop in the best way despite the non-custodial parenting you’re having. Your involvement at home is effective to enhance their self-confidence and emotional bonds.
Once you arrange a parenting plan for non-custodial parent, it will be much easier to play your role as a father or mother. During a visitation time, you can spend quality time by doing creative projects at home or simply play in the backyard. Watching favorite movies can also be a nice idea to strengthen your relationships.
- Contribute in Children’s Education
It’s possible to stay involved in your children’s education though you’re a non-custodial parent. Non-custodial parenting that maintains your presence in children’s education is important to boost academic performance, enhance self-esteem, improve social skills and strengthen verbal skills.
To stay involved in children’s school life, there are some approaches that you can do. For instance, you can take time to read to your children or help with their homework.
This method works effectively to strengthen family bonds as well as boost test scores. You may also attend parent conferences or family day, participate in field trips, and many more.
- Maintain Communication
One of the most crucial aspects to keep in mind whenever you want to stay involved in child’s life is to maintain communication. Non custodial parents have got to realize that their communication isn’t as intense as custodial parents so they need to make the best out of it.
Make time to call your children and ask how they are doing. This is going to be great as your children will know that their parents care about them just like before divorce.
During parenting time, it’s also necessary to communicate with your children so you won’t miss a story of their lives. Ask what they want to eat or how they want to finish the creative project.
- Quality Time Becomes Priority
You might be too excited to spend a visitation time with the children so you have a long to-do-list for a day.
Don’t stress yourself about making every minute wonderful unless you want to end up messing it up. It’s not about how much you spend but how much your children enjoy the quality time.
Don’t embrace the weekend dad or mom, which is the most common mistakes of co-parenting. With this in mind, you will try to make sure the children enjoy every second. Let everything go naturally and always involve your kids to make decision.
- Keep Your Personal Feeling
You may have an urge to talk negatively about the other parent or try to bring the children to your side. When this urge comes, you should keep your personal feeling and don’t tell anything to your children. Just focus on your quality time because that’s what your kids really want.
The non-custodial parent or also known as co-parenting is hard but many parents can deal with it. Even though your ex has legal custody, you can still enjoy visitation rights and stay involved in children’s lives. Additionally, you can be financially responsible for paying child support every month. Being a non-custodial parent can be challenging but you’ll always find ways to be a great parent for your children.