It is important to most divorcing Wisconsin parents to maintain strong relationships with their children. Doing so can be hard, however, when children live exclusively with one parent and the other is left with only sparse visitation time. When a parent does not have physical custody of their child, then they are often referred to as the non-custodial parent.

The child’s custodial parent is the one who provides them with a home, food, and clothing. Though a non-custodial parent may pay child support to ensure that those necessities are available, the custodial parent is responsible for ensuring that the child’s day-to-day needs are adequately met. Non-custodial parents may not have the right to have their children live with them but they may have legal custodial rights.

As readers may remember, legal custody refers to the power of a parent to be involved in the decisions that will impact how a child is raised. Even if a parent lacks physical custody of their child they may still be able to voice their opinions and concerns about how they are educated and what types of medical care they receive. Legal and physical custody are not bound together and can be separated in custodial disputes.

A non-custodial parent does not have to give up on their plans to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child after their divorce is finalized. Through visitation they can build their connection with their child, and over time they may choose to petition the courts to have their custodial arrangement modified. Any questions that parents may have about custody and parental rights should be directed to family law attorneys.