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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Noncustodial Parent


Term Definition Noncustodial Parent - the parent who does not have physical custody of the child and who typically is paying child support for the child.
Application in Divorce In most divorces, the father becomes the noncustodial parent, who is sometimes called the NCP.

In some divorces, the noncustodial father becomes a kind of odd man out whose physical removal from the child makes him a visitor, not a parent.

No one denies that divorced parenting brings great challenges, particularly for the absent parent and even more for a father. Even when a father shares legal custody, his physical absence from the child’s life on a day-to-day basis make a father’s job more difficult. Some noncustodial parents become angry if they believe the support payment is not benefitting the child, or frustrated if the custodial parent blindly enforces a visitation schedule.

One of the unfortunate outcomes of noncustodial parenting happens when the parent remarries and has a second family with a new wife. Very often when this happens, the noncustodial parent drifts out of the life of his child who may blame himself or herself for the loss of contact.

Because visitation time is precious, the noncustodial parent should use it wisely, not dissipate it on barren activities like watching television. Shared experiences make for memories, and memories, unlike "stuff," last and often get better with time.

A noncustodial parent always remembers that visitation and support are separate. Visitation is his right; support is his obligation. One should never be used as a wedge against the other by either the custodial or the noncustodial parent. Doing so, only hurts a child, who becomes cut to pieces in a crossfire between battling parents.

A noncustodial parent comes to understand that the halves are not equal and tries to make his or her half better. A noncustodial parent tries to make his or her children feel secure and loved and always aims for the high road in dealings with his former spouse who remains the child’s other parent.

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