A Friction Point in Custody and Visitation

When physical custody is split, very often the mother is the custodial parent and the father is the noncustodial parent who has visitation rights that are often spelled out in a parenting plan.

Visitation forces the former married spouses in contact, particularly when the noncustodial parent picks up and returns a child. And very often during these moments of contact, friction between the former spouses becomes explosive, and the former partners renew the battle, often in the presence of their children.

Visitation demands that both parents rise to the occasion. No parenting plan can anticipate every contingency that happens in the real world. That means that when Dad is a few minutes late returning the children Mom does not get on the telephone with her lawyer to make an issue of it. It means that if Dad has to work unexpectedly he does not wait until the last moment to tell Mom and the children that other arrangements have to be made.

Custody does not mean that Mom owns the child to the exclusion of Dad, and child support is not payment for the privilege of visiting a child. Both parents, the custodial and the noncustodial, are still parents to a child who loves them both indivisibly.

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