The Noncustodial Parent: Usually the Father
The noncustodial parent is the parent who does not have physical custody of the child and who typically is paying child support for the child. In most divorces, the father becomes the noncustodial parent, who is sometimes called the NCP.
Unfortunately, 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. 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.
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.
Because visitation time is precious, the noncustodial parent uses it wisely, not dissipating time 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 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.
Common Questions and Answers
Q. What should the noncustodial parent always remember?
A. A noncustodial parent should always remember that visitation and support are separate. Visitation is his or her right; support is his or her 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.
Q. Where can a noncustodial father learn more about his situation?
A. There are many support groups available to the noncustodial father. Researching and searching resources on the Internet is one way to find such support.
Useful Online Tools
Resources & Tools
PARENTING CLASSES -- In some jurisdictions, parenting classes for the parents of minors are now required as a preliminary to divorce. The classes teach parents how to minimize the negative effects of divorce on their children and serve to restate parental responsibilities in the context of divorce. They are not an eleventh-hour attempt at marriage counseling.
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