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Responsibilities of the Non-Custodial Parent

A non-custodial parent is the one who does not have primary physical custody over his or her children. However, it is possible for a non-custodial parent to have legal custody, even though he or she lacks physical custody of the children.

Many non-custodial parents are actively involved in the lives of their children and they also  enjoy liberal visitation rights and they pay child support.

Other than the basic duties that a parent should give to a child such as providing the primary needs, rearing the child into becoming a better citizen and of course, loving them and making sure they are well taken care of, the following are some duties and responsibilities that a non-custodial parent should do:

Put the Best Interests of the Child

The legal standard on which most, if not all, family court decisions are based are the child’s best interests. This means doing what is best to make sure that the child will grow happy and healthy. This may refer to placing the needs of the child above anything else. All actions of any parent, custodial or non-custodial should be based on this standard.

Follow the Supervised Visitation Schedule

It is important that the non-custodial parent follow the visitation schedule whether supervised or not.

Supervised visitation is a court-ordered visitation with a third-party and which often takes place in a public area.

Non-custodial parents should make a habit to make a routine with the child or children best by developing a routine with them. This include buying the child’s favorite food and snacks and make sure the child has activities to do and places to go such as going to the movies, playing games or  sporting events.

Pay Child Support and Monitor the Payment 

Non-custodial parents who has been ordered to pay child support may have an informal agreement with the child’s custodial parent which would allow the non-custodial parent to send child support via cash, check.

The parents should also track the payments made especially if the non-custodial parent pays directly from his or her pay.

If a non-custodial parent has an informal arrangement with the custodial parent, the former should keep proof of all payments he or she made such as receipts for purchased items or check stubs.

Consult with a Lawyer In Case of Non-agreement 

If a non-custodial parent has set up an informal agreement with the custodial parent, it is best to reduce such agreement in writing. However, if a non-custodial parent cannot agree with the custodial parent, they should seek legal assistance from a qualified attorney or in a court of law.

File for a Child Custody Modification

If the agreement is no longer good for the non-custodial parent, he or she should file for a child custody modification before the court. He or she should be prepared to provide reasons to be granted a modification. However, if the court deems the agreement to be suitable, it may still rule in favor of not altering the agreement.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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