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Custodial Parent Designation

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DepressedDaddy posted 5/8/2014 08:32 AM

This is for the U.S. folks primarily, but anyone can chime in with thoughts. I was told by my lawyer that in my state (and this might be true in every state, I don't know), both parents can share 50% legal and physical custody, but one parent will ultimately be designated as the "custodial parent." I understand that this does not mean they can make decisions without the other parent, in the cases of joint or 50/50 legal custody, but what are the pros and cons about this. I'm trying to figure out if it is something I should fight for. I was told that in the county I live, the judges "almost always" award custodial status to the mother, unless she is not available (incarceration, abandonment, etc.). They will still award it to the mother even in the cases that involve unfaithful mothers.

She currently makes a little more than me income-wise, so I don't know if that makes a difference. I also do not know if she wants the designation of custodial parent, although I feel like she does. I just want to have my thoughts processed before I go into that discussion.

What are your thoughts?

Dreamboat posted 5/8/2014 10:36 AM

In my jurisdiction, the custodial parent is the "tie breaker" if the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding school, healthy, etc. This is not the case in all jurisdictions however.

Saying that, in the 8 years I have been D I have not had to make any serious decisions regarding DD's school, health, or any other issue that would be covered by legal custody. That is, she has not had any serious school, health, or legal issues for which I had to make any decisions (I say "I" instead of "we" because X is not involved in her life)

Did you ask the L what they see as the benefits of being named the custodial parent?

peacelovetea posted 5/8/2014 10:54 AM

In my state I believe it is merely a way to indicate the parent who has majority physical custody. In my case that is me, because we are about 60-40. It doesnt seem to have any significant bearing, but we have not had anything be contentious in regards to the kids really so I don't know if it could have mattered or not.

hoya96 posted 5/8/2014 12:39 PM

I believe, like a pp said, it's most significant if there is disagreement regarding school enrollment. I have primary physical custody anyway (ex only has joint legal) but he was making noises like he might fight to put our kids in his public school district, and when I ran it by my lawyer, he laughed and said the law is clear that the kids go where physical custody is designated UNLESS custodial parent agrees to the alternative.

So I imagine that is the sticking point for one parent ultimately being designated as "primary residence".

Kajem posted 5/8/2014 13:17 PM

Custodial parent can be for tax purposes and child support. The parent that has custody has to sign an IRS form GIVING the noncustodial parent permission to claim a child on taxes. A child cannot be split for tax purposes.

Also if your state ends CS at 18, who claims your kid thru college. In my state, unless it is addressed in the MSA, in one tax deductions revert to the custodial parent. Even in a 50/50 situation.

Hope this helps.

cmego posted 5/8/2014 20:22 PM

In Virginia, I have primary physical custody, but we have joint legal custody and that is stated in our PSA. If we cannot agree on something, our PSA states we are to attend mediation.

persevere posted 5/8/2014 20:30 PM

In Texas it's referred to as joint managing conservatorship, however, there is usually a designated parent who provides the primary home for the children, and the other parent has designated periods of possession up to 50/50, depending on the agreement.

homewrecked2011 posted 5/8/2014 22:30 PM

Try to become the custodial parent with the final say. It has helped me in the following ways:

XWH did not want children to go to counseling. I said, I have the final say and they are going!

He didn't want son to have braces. I have the final say, son got braces.

He didn't think other child needed speech therapy any longer -- even hounded the SLP with phone call after phone call. I have the final say, child got speech therapy.

He wants OW to be on pickup at school, I have the final say and SHE IS NOT ON THE LIST.

I THINK the custodial parent can move across the country with the child with only 30 days notice.

If XWH wants to buy your child a sports car, you want to be able to say NO.

Custodial parent claims child tax credit, the child as an exemption and can claim the earned income credit (I got 5,000 tax credit for this).

What if your XWW decides to put your child on ADD meds or any other meds or doesn't take your child for tests for allergies, etc etc. You want the final say.

Good luck! In SC it no longer goes to the Mom automatically, so maybe in your state you will get this.

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