Parents have rights with respect to their children, regardless of who has custody. Both the father's custody rights and the mother's custody rights are equal unless one of them is deemed unfit.
While the courts formerly gave custody of young children to the mother, presuming that the mother was always more fit to care for young children than a fit father (the tender years presumption) this is no longer a formal requirement in custody decisions.
Despite this, judges are permitted to act within their discretion in making custody decisions or modifying them in the future.
The custodial parent's responsibility is to assume the primary care of children in the family. The custodial parent may be the only person making decisions on the children's education, medical care, extracurricular activities, etc. or may have to share those decisions with the non-custodial parent.
A custodial parent is also responsible for ensuring that the children have the opportunity for a loving, caring relationship with the non-custodial parent and a duty not to denigrate the ex-spouse in front of the children.
Non custodial parent rights may be substantial or more limited depending on the fitness of the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent may be taking part in decisions with the custodial parent on children's medical care, education, day care, etc. or has to ask the custodial parent before making those decisions for the children except in emergency situations.
A non-custodial parent is also not allowed to interfere in the relationship between the custodial parent and the children. Non-custodial parents can not usually keep the children for longer than their scheduled, court ordered visitation time.
Custodial Parent Rights Benefits
This article is not a substitute for legal advice. An experienced family law attorney is your best resource in enforcing parental rights.