What Rights Do I Lose If My Ex Becomes Primary Custodian?


My wife and I had agreed on a 50/50 custody arrangement for our three shared children.

Now, she is asking to be the primary custodian.

If I allow her her to be listed as primary, what rights do I lose as a parent?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.

The simple answer to this question is that you do not lose any parental rights when you are the non-custodial parent, a parent that does not having primary physical custody.

As long as you have joint legal custody, you will be able to share in decision making and will have the right to equal access to all information regarding your children. This includes school records, medical records and more.

However, what giving primary physical custody to your wife does mean is that you will have limited time with your children. It will likely affect the amount of child support you will be ordered to pay your wife.

Moreover, the legal standard to modify custody from primary physical to joint physical after divorce is typically much higher. If she she ever decides to move out of state, the primary physical custodian typically has an advantage when requesting an out of state relocation with the children.

Prior to taking making any formal agreement with your wife, I recommend contacting a family law attorney in your jurisdiction to review the facts of your particular situation and advise you as to your best course of action.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Nevada divorce lawyer Elisabeth Flemmingcontact Cordell & Cordell. 

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2 comments on “What Rights Do I Lose If My Ex Becomes Primary Custodian?

    Don’t do it
    The protection of joint legal custody rights by most courts is non existent. Do not ever agree to this and fight like hell for your rights to joint physical care. Children in joint physical care situations generally do better developmentally as well.

    I smell deception in this.

    Technically Correct
    You may not lose legal rights, but the fact that you are spending less time with your kids will lessen your influence in their lives. The fact you now hand her more child support takes away decision making power. It is a fact that who controls the money gets to make the decisions. This is an undeniable truth. I went from 50/50 to 43/57 or 40/60 for argument sake. Understand that is going from 7/14 days to 6/14 days. My child support more than doubled. I don’t have the money now to pay for my kids to do the things I want them to. I can’t pay for much on my own. She has more net income now than she had when we were married. You may have legal rights, but you have to go back to court to enforce them. You might want to fight it, but odds are, there will be some professional (GAL, Custody Evaluator, etc) that will take care of making sure you lose. I went from 100% active involved dad to being compared to a child abuser in just a few hours of a GAL talking to everyone. Good luck, but no matter how the laws are moving towards default shared parenting, the courts are still doing what they always have.

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