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What is the definition of a custodial parent?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2023 | Child Custody

When two parents separate, the issue of child custody is often at the center of family law proceedings.  In many cases, a child or children will reside with one parent most of the time after the separation. In these types of arrangements, the parent who has majority custody is typically referred to as the custodial parent 

Do custodial parents retain the right to make decisions for a child? 

Since custodial parents carry most of the responsibility for child rearing, they may believe that they are able to make all the decisions related to the child, too. However, this is not necessarily the case. While custodial parents do have certain rights and responsibilities under the law, the specific co-parenting court order that is in play for both parties will determine issues like decision-making and communication. 

Do custodial parents receive child support? 

Being physically responsible for a child does not necessarily mean carrying the full financial burden of raising that child. In most cases, custodial parents are entitled to child support from the other parent. State guidelines, earnings and the decision as to whether to file formally for support all come into play here, so is a good idea to speak to an attorney for specific information. 

Being the custodial parent is not an automatic designation, even for those who do provide the primary physical care for a child or children. Courts may require someone to file for child custody in order to be officially designated as a custodial parent under the law. Parents who have questions about child custody or wish to undergo such a filing should contact a Maryland family lawyer. 

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