- April 6, 2022
- Kelvin Birk
- Family Law
When it comes to child custody, the two main types of custody that can be awarded to parents are custodial and non-custodial. Custodial parents are the ones who have primary physical custody of the child, while non-custodial parents have visitation rights. Typically, the non-custodial parent may also have joint legal custody, which means they share some of the decision-making authority with the custodial parent.
There are a number of factors that can influence who is granted custody and what rights they have. These include:
- The relationship between the parents (e.g., the parent’s plan for custody and parenting wishes)
- The needs of the child (the willingness and ability of each parent to provide for the child)
- The child’s living arrangements (e.g., whether the child will be relocated)
- The health of everyone involved (e.g., mental and physical health and any history of domestic violence).
So, what legal rights do non-custodial parents have? Generally, noncustodial parents who have joint legal custody have the right to see their child regularly and be involved in the child’s life. This includes being able to make decisions about their child’s education, religion, and healthcare. Noncustodial parents also have a right to information about their child’s welfare and whereabouts.
If the non-custodial parent is not happy with the custody arrangement, they may be able to petition the court for a change. This can be difficult, especially if the custodial parent is unwilling to cooperate; however, it is important to remember that the non-custodial parent has legal rights that must be respected as well.
How Can a Non-Custodial Parent Lose Visitation Rights?
When a couple divorces or separates, a court can award custody of the children to one parent while granting visitation rights to the other. Nevertheless, there are several ways in which a non-custodial parent can lose these rights.
One way is if the non-custodial parent fails to comply with the court-ordered visitation schedule. If a non-custodial parent repeatedly misses scheduled visits, for example, the court may decide to terminate or suspend visitation rights as this can present psychological issues for the child later on in life.
Another way a non-custodial parent can lose visitation rights is if they are deemed unfit by the court. This could be due to issues such as drug or alcohol abuse, child neglect, dangerous living conditions, or domestic violence.
If the court determines that it is not in the child’s best interests to have contact with an unfit parent, they may be denied visitation rights altogether. A non-custodial parent can also lose visitation rights if they allow the child to excessively miss school.
Legal Rights of the Non-Custodial Parent in Missouri
When parents split up, the non-custodial parent can often feel left out of their child’s life. They may be worried about their legal rights and what they can and cannot do.
While Missouri is a state that favors joint physical custody, sometimes a court will award joint legal custody instead. The State of Missouri defines non-custodial joint legal custody as giving both parents the right to share in the decisions and responsibilities of the child or children.
Here are some of the legal rights of the non-custodial parent in Missouri:
Visitation rights – The non-custodial parent has the right to visitation with their child. This can include both scheduled visits and unplanned visits, depending on the judgment or order from the court. Generally, the custodial parent cannot prevent the non-custodial parent from seeing their child without a court order.
It is important to note that the non-custodial parent does not have an automatic right to custody or visitation. The courts will consider a variety of factors before making a decision, such as the relationship between the parents and the child, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and whether there has been any domestic violence.
Parenting time – The non-custodial parent also has the right to parenting time. This means they have the right to spend time with their child on a regular basis and perform their functions as a mother or a father. Commonly, the custodial parent cannot prevent the non-custodial parent from having parenting time without a court order.
Decision-making authority – The non-custodial parent has the right to make decisions about their child’s welfare. This includes decisions about their education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. The custodial parent cannot make these decisions without the consent of the non-custodial parent.
One of the most important things a non-custodial parent can do is to stay involved in their child’s life. This means staying up-to-date on schoolwork, attending events, and being there for milestones. It can also mean maintaining an amicable relationship with the other parent so that the child can maintain a healthy relationship with both parents.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the non-custodial parent can take legal action to ensure they have a voice in their child’s life. This could include seeking joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or visitation rights.
Family courts will look at what is best for the child when making a decision, so it is important to provide as much evidence as possible that shows how being actively involved as a parent in the child’s life will be beneficial to the child.
What Legal Responsibility Does a Noncustodial Parent Have?
As a general rule, the noncustodial parent is legally responsible for paying child support. This money goes toward supporting the child financially. If the non-custodial parent does not pay child support, they can be held in contempt of court.
In certain circumstances, a court may order a non-custodial parent to pay the medical insurance and health-related expenses of the child.
Depending on the financial arrangements of the parents, a noncustodial parent may be required to pay for certain things above and beyond child support, such as educational costs and automobile insurance for a child 16 years or older who drives.
Contact a Missouri Child Custody Lawyer Today
Going through a divorce is difficult – even for adults. We understand that when children are part of the separation of the family, they often become the heart of the litigation. Your child needs you, and you need the right lawyer.
If you are a non-custodial parent and have questions about custody or visitation, speak with a Missouri child custody lawyer to help you understand your legal rights and guide you through the court process.
The attorneys and counselors at Birk Law Firm are legal professionals who can advise you on how to protect your relationship with your child. Call today at 573-332-8585.
Attorney Kelvin Birk
Kelvin Birk is a lawyer as well as a certified public accountant, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows our law firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal representation services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas. [ Attorney Bio ]