Definition of Noncustodial Parent

Noncustodial parents are the parents who do not have physical custody of their child. Noncustodial parents may, however, be awarded joint legal custody, which means they can make legal decisions for their child even if they do have joint physical custody.

Because the custodial parent generally has a greater responsibility to provide food, education, clothing, medical attention and shelter for the child, the noncustodial parent will generally have to provide financial support for the child. The noncustodial parent will also generally have visitation with the child, although the courts or the parents together (i.e. through mediation) will agree to a set schedule.

Noncustodial parents visitation rights

Visitation arrangements for the noncustodial parent are determined by the court. Prior to deciding visitation the courts will consider what they believe to be “in the best interest of the child.”Other factors are also evaluated including the stability of the noncustodial parent’s home, the emotional and physical needs of the child, whether the noncustodial parent is emotionally and physically capable of caring for the child, whether the noncustodial parent is a potential danger to the child, the relationship of the child to the noncustodial parent and whether there has been a history of abuse.

Courts generally recognize that in most situations the involvement of both parents in the child’s life is beneficial for the child. Whether or not a parent has actual physical custody of the child generally does not determine how much they love their child or negate all of the work they do to provide care of financial support for their child.

« Back to Glossary

Browse Divorce Terms Alphabetically

A |
C |
D |
E |
F |
G |
I |
J |
L |
M |
N |
O |
P |
Q |
S |
U |
V |