However, it is not always that straightforward. A single parent might not be considered the custodial parent even if the other parent is not involved if that parent has not filed for sole custody. Parents who are uncertain about their legal status involving their children might want to consult an attorney. Child support may be paid from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent.
In a divorce, one advantage of being the custodial parent is more time with the child. Even with a generous visitation schedule, the other parent usually does not see the child as often. This means the custodial parent is more often present for many aspects of the child’s life ranging from helping with homework to helping them through their problems. However, there may be drawbacks to this as well. If a child is acting out, this may be directed primarily at the custodial parent.
Parents who are divorcing might want to talk about how to keep the noncustodial parent more involved in the child’s life. For example, even though one parent has physical custody, the parents can share legal custody, which means both parents make decisions about important issues such as the child’s education and religion. The custodial parent can also communicate about the child’s games, performances and other extracurricular activities so the other parent can attend. The noncustodial parent might also want to go to parent-teacher conferences and have visitation during the week as well as on some weekends. Another option is for parents to share physical custody. The child may not spend exactly half the time with each parent, but the time might be more evenly distributed.