What does Custodial Parent mean?
The custodial parent is the parent with whom a child resides following a separation or divorce. The custodial parent has the legal responsibility to provide food, shelter and clothing to the child. The courts will choose the custodial parent for the child based on what they determine to be in the child's best interest. Generally, the custodial parent is the parent who has shown that he or she can most adequately meet all of the needs of the child.
The other parent who does not have physical custody of the child is called the noncustodial parent. Child custody agreements will determine the amount of time a child spends with a noncustodial parent. Visitation is generally based on a schedule such as weekends, or holidays and summer months. Noncustodial parents may be required to pay child support payments to the custodial parent to supplement the expenses of child care. Child support to the custodial parent can include payments for child care, health insurance, school uniforms, extracurricular activities and recreational activities. Child custody arrangements can be modified if the custodial parent fails to continuously provide a stable environment for the child or the child decides at some point they would like to reside with the noncustodial parent.