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Rights and responsibilities of non-custodial parents

The benefits of having both parents involved in their children's upbringing post divorce have been discussed recently on this East Baton Rouge Family Law Blog. As mentioned previously, when fathers maintain a healthy relationship with the children, it improves their self-esteem and reduces the instances of psychological or behavioral problems. This is why courts also lean towards awarding joint custody and parents try to create a child custody arrangement that reflects it.

The Department of Children and Family Services also tries to promote a child's emotional well-being by ensuring each parent contributes to the upbringing of their children, by trying to encourage them to fulfill their responsibilities and exercise their rights. This means that even where one parent is appointed the primary caretaker, the noncustodial parent has certain rights and responsibilities that they must meet and this department helps them.

Noncustodial parents are entitled to visit their children and access to them, unless there is a history of abuse or violence, or there are allegations of abuse. The court may grant supervised visitation in some instances, but that is up to the court. Once the visitation schedule is made, it is essential for both parties to stick to it and adhere to the details, from the drop off location and time. If it is not possible or if changes are necessary, they should be made through the right process, not on an ad-hoc basis that could upset the whole arrangement and cost a parent their visitation rights.

Keeping the children's best interests at the forefront when making any decision regarding child custody and parents should try to keep that in mind, regardless of how messy the divorce gets. There are various avenues to pursue to ensure one gets the access to their children that they deserve, and it might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney for guidance on one's options.

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