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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Custodial Parent

Term Definition Custodial Parent - the parent a child normally lives with, and the one who makes legal decisions concerning the child.
Application in Divorce Sometimes called the parent with physical custody or primary physical custody.

There are several different types of custody arrangements because of the difficulties in child rearing by divorced parents.

One of the most contentious facets of a divorce is custody. Parents often care more for their children than their alienated spouses. It is very important for both parents -- the custodial and the noncustodial -- to remember that each is still a parent, and that a child’s love is not divisible; he or she loves both parents.

In deciding custody, parents should remember that a child’s main concern is his or her own future; that a child suffers terribly during a divorce, even when he or she does not show it; and that any custody arrangement competent and reasonable parents can reach is better than one a judge can decide.

In disputed custody cases, the judge decides, guided by "the best interests of the child."

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