How to Be a Better Custodial Parent
Determining child custody has the potential to be an incredibly stressful and confusing legal battle. The rulings made by the court are important legal decisions, but dealing with a highly emotional topic: kids.
The ultimate goal for everyone involved is to create a positive and loving environment for the children– but the potential emotional volatility of the situation can overshadow that goal and distract the people involved from what’s really best for everyone.
What is a custodial parent?
The custodial parent is the parent who lives with the child and provides the majority of the child’s care. This means the custodial parent is responsible for the child’s daily needs, which include meals, homework help, and everything in between.
What is physical vs. legal custody?
Physical and legal custody are two varying factors in the child custody process that determine where the child lives and who cares for them, in addition to who is able to make legal decisions when it comes to the child.
If a parent is awarded sole physical custody, it means that the child lives with them full-time.
However, many courts prefer to award joint physical custody, which means that the child splits their time between both parents’ homes.
Legal custody refers to important legal decisions in the child’s life. These might include choosing what school or church the child attends, or important health care decisions in the child’s life. Typically,
If parents are awarded joint physical custody, they most likely also have joint legal custody. But if a parent is awarded sole custody, that means they alone have physical and legal custody of the child.
How can I be a good custodial parent?
The most important aspect of being a good custodial parent is doing what’s in your child’s best interests. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if you have a contentious relationship with the child’s other parent.
If it’s possible at all, you should strive to set aside any differences you may have for the other parent in order to focus on what will help keep your child happy and healthy.
Beyond basic parenting, though, there are a few tips you can follow to be a good custodial parent– which will benefit you, your child, your child’s other parent, and your whole family in general.
Keep everyone in the loop
If you have primary physical custody of your child, but share legal custody with your child’s other parent, it’s important that you let the other parent know about anything important happening in your child’s life.
This includes what’s going on at school; for example, if your child is struggling with a certain subject or has had disciplinary issues, you should discuss it as a team with the other parent to determine how to proceed.
You should also list the other parent as an emergency contact for your child.
Communication is key
Essentially, the most important thing you can do as a custodial parent is try to set aside the personal differences you might have with the child’s other parent, or any other family, and ask yourself: what’s best for our child? How can we ensure that our child is happy and healthy?
Seek legal representation
If you’re experiencing issues with joint physical custody, legal custody, or any other custody issue, your first step should be trying to reach an agreement face-to-face with the other parent.
The courts tend to place value on custody decisions that are agreed upon by both parents. But if reaching an agreement isn’t possible for your dynamic (which is often the case!), it’s a good idea to seek legal representation and allow the matter to be handled in court.
At Davidson Law Firm, your child’s wellbeing is our priority. We fight hard to ensure the best outcome for your family.