In most joint custody arrangements, the court will consider one parent the non-custodial parent. This is often because the children will primarily live with one parent in order to maintain continuity of their lives. For example, if you and the other parent do not live in the same school district, the children would spend the majority of their time with the parent in that school district.
In addition, your schedule may not allow you to spend as much time with your children as you would like. Any number of reasons could prevent you from being the custodial parent, and now, you feel as though society puts you into a box because of it.
Bust the stereotypes
The world often views non-custodial parents as not loving the children as much, of being deadbeats or simply giving up custody of their children. In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth. You do not have to take on any of those labels. Instead, you could turn them around by doing the following:
- Make sure you pay your child support on time every month. If you have trouble paying it due to a job loss, illness or some other reason, contact the other parent and the court immediately.
- Stay as involved with your children's lives as possible. This means attending extracurricular activities, parent-teacher conferences and other events in their lives.
- Take advantage of all of your parenting time. Unless you have a work or family commitment that keeps you from doing so, always show up on time and be present for your scheduled visitation.
- Take the time to develop a good working relationship with the other parent. You will always remain bound by your children, so finding your way to a more amicable relationship will only makes things better for everyone.
- Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't a single parent. Even when you don't have your children, you are still a parent.
You can absolutely enjoy a loving and supportive relationship with your children. You have the right to fight to get as much time with your children as you can fit into your life when it comes to carving out your parenting time. If you negotiate a custody agreement with the other parent outside of the courtroom, make sure that he or she knows how important your relationship with the children is to you.
If you must go to court in order to get your parenting time, make sure the court understands your desires. Even though you may enlist the help of an Arizona attorney in these matters, it is up to you to make sure the court hears you.