If I am a Non-Custodial Parent, Can I Still Make Decisions About My Child’s Life?

If you are going through a high-conflict divorce in the Charlotte region, you may be wondering what might happen if you become a non-custodial parent. Will you lose all your rights as a parent? Can you still make important decisions about your child’s life? What kind of role will you have in your child’s life from this point onwards? These are all important questions, and you should consider the possibility of becoming a non-custodial parent even if you are confident about winning your custody battle.

A qualified, experienced family law attorney can help you fight for your rights to maintain custody. That being said, these legal professionals can also fight to ensure that your rights as a non-custodial parent are being respected. North Carolina courts explain that both parents play a meaningful role in their child’s life, regardless of who is the custodial parent. If these rights are not being respected, you can take legal action against your former spouse.

For some parents, a role as a non-custodial parent may actually be the preferable choice. Perhaps it is just not convenient to share custody because of the distance between you and your former spouse. Maybe you and your spouse have come to an agreement about child custody in a separation agreement. Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand your rights and roles as a non-custodial parent going forward.

The Custodial Parent Makes All “Day-to-Day” Decisions

Generally speaking, the custodial parent has the freedom to make all “day-to-day” decisions about a child’s life. This means that you will not be able to control things like what clothes they wear, what they eat, what kind of friends they spend time with, and things of that nature.

You Have the Right to Participate in Major Life Decisions

On the other hand, non-custodial parents can still have the ability to take part in major life decisions that involve their children. You can have a say in where the child goes to school, and you can have an influence over what kinds of choices are being made for the child’s general educational journey. You can also have a say in any important decisions regarding healthcare, such as what kind of treatment they receive for a potential mental health issue.

Another important major life decision might involve religion. For example, you can influence the decision on whether your child has a bar mitzvah or not. Those are just a few examples of possible major life decisions that impact children. If you feel that you are not being given the opportunity to participate in a decision that you feel impacts your child in a major way, you should reach out to a legal professional for advice as soon as possible.

There is a Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody

In North Carolina, there is a difference between legal and physical custody. Legal physical custody allows parents to make major decisions about the child, while physical custody only involves taking care of the child and having them stay with you for a period of time. It is possible for a parent to have physical custody without being granted legal custody. In some cases, legal custody may only be awarded to a single parent.

In other situations, legal custody is shared between the two parents. If you are the non-custodial parent, you may still be given joint legal custody - even if your former spouse has been given primary physical custody. In other situations, however, a non-custodial parent may not be given legal custody, which would prevent them from making important decisions.

Fight for Joint Custody

Remember, you can always fight for joint custody. Today’s courts in North Carolina are much more likely to award joint custody than in past decades. Joint custody is often attainable, especially if you enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney. In addition, North Carolina courts are more likely to respect the rights of fathers than ever before. At least on paper, these courts have abolished any implicit preference for mothers when handling matters related to child custody.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching Mecklenburg County or the surrounding areas for a skilled family law attorney who can help you with your divorce, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We frequently handle high-conflict divorces, and we have dealt with countless child custody battles in the past. Whether you are currently going through a divorce or you are a concerned non-custodial parent, we can help you pursue any legal issues in an efficient manner. Reach out today, book a consultation at our Charlotte offices, and we can develop an effective action plan together.