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Common assumptions about noncustodial parents

Some noncustodial parents in Texas may face unfair assumptions about their role in the lives of their children. For example, people might assume that they do not pay child support. However, many noncustodial parents responsibly make their child support payments monthly and support their children financially in other ways as well.

People may also think a noncustodial parent is uninvolved in a child's life. They might think that the noncustodial parent is not really a single parent even though that parent does just as much work when the child is visiting. Furthermore, while some noncustodial parents agree to relinquish custody because it is in the best interests of the child, others may not be happy with the custody arrangement. Those parents may want to appeal a court decision or go back to court to request custody again. Another assumption is that noncustodial parents are all fathers. Increasingly, fathers have joint or even sole custody of their children, and some noncustodial parents may be mothers.

Whether they are mothers or fathers, there are a number of things noncustodial parents can do to deal with having less time with their children. They can still be involved in their child's life, and they should show they are trustworthy by adhering to the visitation schedule. They can also turn to loved ones for support.

When negotiating the parenting schedule, parents should look ahead to the future. They may want to think about how they will handle holidays and vacations and whether the schedule will need to change in the summer when the child is out of school. As children get older, their needs may change, and parents may need to modify the schedule in response to that. A mediator may be able to help parents negotiate a child custody and visitation schedule if they are struggling.

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