While in most cases, a parent who spends the bulk of his or her time with his or her child is considered the custodial parent, that’s not always the case. A judge may actually require the parent that wishes to assert his or her right to be the sole decision-maker in his or her child’s life to do so by filing the necessary order in court to be appointed as such.
Even if you have been appointed the custodial parent, you don’t necessarily have the right to make any and all decisions in your child’s life. Instead, in most cases, this appointment simply ensures that you will have the right to spend more extended periods of time with your child.
Parents who are the primary custodians of their kids are still required to share parenting responsibilities with the child’s other parent and consult him or her before making high-impact or big-ticket expenses in his or her children’s lives.
Although you may appreciate the benefit of getting to spend more time with your child that being the primary custodial parent affords you, single parenthood is not easy. As the parent who will spending the most time with your child, you’ll be primarily responsible for carting them to school, extracurricular activities, play dates, doctor’s visits, preparing meals for them and helping them bathe and do homework.
Dedicating most of your free time to raising your child may restrict your ability to maintain a social life of your own. However, your unwavering dedication to your child has a strong potential to lay the foundation for a solid bond between the two of you in the future.
It’s also worth mentioning that in exchange for you carrying the bulk of the parenting duties, a judge will most likely order the noncustodial parent to pay child support. This will help defer some of the costs of raising your shared child.
How much the noncustodial parent has to pay varies by jurisdiction. How many kids each parent has to support and the amount each earns can both impact how much support is awarded.
If you’re seeking to be appointed the custodial parent of your child or you’re interested in waging a claim for child support, then you may benefit from discussing your the specifics of your case with a Houston family law attorney.
Source: The Spruce, “What does it mean to be a custodial parent?,” Jennifer Wolf, accessed Aug. 23, 2017