Once a divorce is finalized and the custody of your children is decided, you should be aware of the responsibilities you and your former spouse will have as parents. Non-custodial and custodial parents have titles that imply who the child is living with, but the responsibilities go beyond that. Make sure you understand the responsibilities and rights of both parents.
Your responsibilities as husband and wife may have been very clear, but it can easily be complicated after a divorce. The custodial parent will need to provide children with a living environment that is safe and clean, as well as cover all the daily expenses that are necessary to raise children. For instance, they must take the lead in making sure they're enrolled in school and attend every day. On the surface, it may seem like all the major responsibilities are covered by the custodial parent, not leaving much for the parent without custody.
Children may not be living with the parent that does not have custody, but there are responsibilities that cannot be ignored. It includes providing financial support that assists with covering costs related to clothing, medical expenses, household bills, and things of that nature. The court may even decide that children be added onto the health insurance policy of a non-custodial parent.
While a husband and wife may have once had shared rights when it came to their children, this will no longer be true. The custodial parent can actually be denied some basic rights, even though they are the one responsible for almost every aspect of taking care of their children. For instance, the custodial parent cannot decide to refuse the visitation rights of the other parent unless it is approved by the court. You may also have restrictions on moving to a different state with your children unless you get an official court order allowing it.
As a non-custodial parent, you can have visitation rights revoked for not meeting your basic responsibilities, which include paying for child support. Visitation rights are typically defined with specific days and times, or considerations, but be aware that visitation can be further limited or revoked completely. In some situations, the court can even mandate supervised visitation with children.
If you need help clarifying or establishing the responsibilities and rights of the parents after a divorce, work with a family law attorney in your area that can help you with your legal options.