As a parent, you always want to be there for your child. You know that you have an obligation to them and will be expected to care for them if you divorce your spouse, but do you know that you have rights as well?
Knowing your parental rights is essential because you need to know what you can or cannot do after your divorce. As a parent, you do have a right to see your child unless a court determines otherwise. You have the right to provide for them and to raise them. You may also have a right to make legal decisions on your child’s behalf or to see out medical treatment for them when it’s needed.
What could influence your parental rights during a divorce?
Going through a divorce has the potential to influence your parental rights. If you go to court and don’t keep your legal rights but do have physical rights, then that means that you will no longer be able to make decisions about your child’s education, medical treatment or other important topics. Instead, the only right you will have is to physical custody or visitation.
Are your rights the same as your responsibilities?
No. Your rights are not the same as the responsibilities you have to your child. A parent’s responsibility to their child cannot be relieved unless the parent-child relationship is legally broken. What that means is that you will be obligated to pay child support if you are the noncustodial parent. You are responsible for providing your child with food, shelter and clothing. It is your responsibility to do everything you can to raise them in a positive way, even if you do not maintain legal custody to make decisions about their care, education, medical needs or other aspects of their life.
The good news is that most parents do share legal custody following a divorce. That means that both parents tend to make decisions for their child and work together to come up with solutions that are in their best interests. It’s your right to fight to keep legal and physical custody, so you can continue to be involved in your child’s life.