Custodial Parent's Legal Obligations? *Follow-up question*

Just a quick question: What are the custodial parent’s legal obligations to the non-custodial parent, if any?

For background, my ex-wife refuses to update me regarding our two children or have them contact me, insisting I be the one to do everything.

EDIT: Just wanted to add that we have joint legal custody of the kids, with her being the primary caregiver, if that makes any difference.

Unless the order states that the parties must give each other updates, they are under no obligation to do so. That said, I would keep track of the times you haven’t been informed as this is a common courtesy and shows a lack of co-parenting. If it continues to be an issue or there are other actions that would warrant a modification, this evidence could be used against him/her. You can read more about child custody claims on our site.

Thank you for the reply. She did notify me of their move this month from Virginia to Michigan about a month prior, but otherwise I have it in writing (email) that she has no intention of notifying me of anything regarding the children in the future (barring a move, I’m assuming). In fact, her exact words were, “It is not my responsibility to report to you (I am not a reporting agency); therefore, you will not be receiving (any) updates. If you want to be a Father and be involved, it is your responsibility to keep in touch.” I’ve also never been sent – or even offered – any school pictures, “family photos,” or anything of the sort. Would that be admissible as proof of a lack of co-parenting?

In a previous post, I asked about a “statute of limitations” regarding taking our kids to live out of state without informing me in writing about 5 years ago; since then, she had her then boyfriend move in with her our children before our divorce was final, then a few months later married him – both without notifying me. Granted, we didn’t have a formal separation agreement, but is there anything that can be done retroactively (this was 4 years ago), or is it too late? Would the lack of any communication regarding that be admissible as well?

For the record, I’m aware that I let her walk all over me, and consider it a very hard lesson learned. :-\

Is a non-custodial parent of a 17 year old allowed to sign for daughter to be married? (Parents divorced 13 years ago, one parent has sole custody). Thanks.

not an attorney
don’t think so… I believe if the other parent has full sole custody… then it is up to that parent to make all the decisions for that child in what he/she does

Yes, that email would certainly show a lack of co-parenting. You cannot obtain a custody order that is retroactive, but poor decision-making in the past can be used against a party to show alienation and as evidence as to why a custody arrangement should be changed.

As for the question about legal custody, if you have a document that indicates you have sole legal custody, the other party should not be able to make any decisions for the minor child, including authorizing marriage.

[quote=“scarletmint”]not an attorney
don’t think so… I believe if the other parent has full sole custody… then it is up to that parent to make all the decisions for that child in what he/she does[/quote]

Okay, thank you. Once the child turns 18, they can do what they want, correct?

Thank you.

not an attorney

When you turn 18 you become a legal adult no matter if you live with your parents or not…not sure what NC age is but yes I would say at 18 the child who turned age wise 18 into an adult can do whatever he/she pleases…but if marriage occurs owing child support I believes ends even if still attending high school…the married couple are taking on life under the assumption they can,live on their own…

When a child turns 18, they become an adult and can marry freely.


I actually have a follow-up question: Even though my ex-wife said she will not provide updates, should I continue to ask for them? I’m thinking if I ask for an update once a week or every other week and she continues to not provide them, that can only strengthen my case, correct?

Thanks for your help!

Yes, the more you can show a lack of communication, the stronger your claim will be.

Thank you again, Kathleen.