February 23, 2021

Understanding Non-Custodial Parenthood and How to Change It

The non-custodial parent is the legal term for the guardian who does not have primary custody of their children. Many people think that, without custody, they would be separated from their children. However, many non-custodial parents enjoy healthy and cordial relationships with their children (and the parent with custody). It is fully possible to be present and provide support for your kids even without being the custodial parent. 

Some of the reasons a parent may be non-custodial are:

  • The parents are divorced and one party was granted custody by the court
  • One parent has had to relocate to find better career opportunities.

Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand your status as a non-custodial parent and figure out what you can do to maintain your relationship with your children. 

Connection Outside Visitation

It should go without saying that you should pay attention and comply with your visitation schedule. It is essential to prove to the court that you want to be present in your children’s lives. If you hope to share custody in the future, you need to make this a priority. 

Remember that familial bonds go beyond legal requirements and it is important to show an interest in your children beyond court-appointed visitation days. If for some reason, you have to be away from your children for work or health, maintaining the connection becomes even more essential. 

Luckily, video conferencing has grown by leaps and bounds. You can maintain a connection with your kids by talking through video calls, video games, and so on. Some other things you can do online, thanks to modern technology, are:

  • Watching movies and shows simultaneously
  • Listening to podcasts together
  • Playing board games online
  • Taking online courses together.

There is no end to the possibilities. There are so many things to do on the internet that the only mistake you can make is not putting in any effort at all. 

Co-Parenting

Divorce happens, and not all marriages end happily or cordially. It is likely that there is some bitterness leftover in your relationship. However, if you share children with another person, you need to aside your differences (no matter how painful they might be) and think of your children. A collaborative relationship with your co-parent is necessary for this to work. 

Ask your former partner to film and photograph important life events, such as graduations, games, performances, first steps, prom, and so on. If possible, ask if you can participate virtually. Make sure to talk to your child about these events in their life. It will remind them that you want to be in their life.

Plan for your custody modification

If you’re hoping to share custody one day, you need to prove to your kids and the court that you are capable of parenting and providing. First and foremost, you need to comply with all court-mandated appointments and regulations. As much as possible, you need to exercise your right to visit them during your scheduled visits. You also need to pay child support and alimony as consistently as possible. 

Another thing you must prove is that you have the appropriate income and space to house your children. The court will likely look into your income documents, bank statements, and tax history. It will also look into the state of your home. If your kids are of a certain age, they will likely need their own rooms. 

Final thoughts

Do not be fooled by the term “non-custodial parent.” The word “parent” is still half of that term. It does not lessen your responsibilities nor does it shrink your importance in your child’s life. As we’ve mentioned before, it is completely possible to have a meaningful and healthy relationship with your children no matter the legalities surrounding your parenthood. 

If you’re looking for family lawyers in Jacksonville, FL, give us a call at Dorsey Law JAX. We can provide you sensitive but aggressive representation in your bid to earn custody of your children. 

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