What is a non-custodial parent?
A non-custodial parent is a parent who does not have physical and/or legal custody of his/her child by court order. Being a non-custodial parent is a tough situation to be in. You might have been really involved in your child’s life on a day-to-day basis, now your time together is limited. While it can be very frustrating time for you, remember that everything happens for a reason. Just because you don’t have legal custody, doesn’t mean you still can’t be in your child’s life.
Know your rights: The first thing you must do is completely understand what your rights with your child are. Once you understand what you are entitled to, be sure you actually use all of your rights. If you have the right to access school records, do so. If you have the right to be updated on your child’s medical visits, make sure to constantly have access to that information. Using all of your rights not only keeps you involved in your child’s life, but puts you in a good position should you ever seek a change in custody.
Don’t be embarrassed: There are too many parents who are embarrassed or angry about the custody arrangement that they were given. Instead of focusing on your negative feelings about the situation, focus on the positives. Enjoy every moment you have with your child. Make the moments you have memorable to show your child you still love them. No matter what, you are your child’s parent for the rest of their lives. Don’t let a piece of paper get in the way of how much you care about your child. You may feel frustrated by this decision, but try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. They most likely feel frustrated as well, and all they want is to spend time with you. Always remember your participation as a parent is very valuable to your child, especially if they’re younger in age.
Keep in contact with the other parent: It’s not uncommon to feel as if this whole situation is the other parent’s fault. You must look past your anger and frustration and remember being a parent is a team effort. The very best thing you can do is find a way to be agreeable and reasonable to the other parent. Always make yourself available. For example if something comes up and your ex spouse asks you to babysit, try your best to help them out. You must be very accommodating about schedule changes. If you and the other parent can reach a point where you can work together, it will only result in positive effects for your child. At the end of the day your child is what matters most and it is important to keep this in mind.