Friday, September 7, 2012

What is a Non-Custodial Parent [NCP]?

Thursday night I had a brief conversation with an author and bio-ethicist in which I mentioned the movie Gattaca. Not my typical fare - sci-fi -- but relevant to reproductive ethics. The movie is about a naturally conceived man who wants to be a space shuttle pilot but won't be allowed because only those who have been created through specific genetic selections [seeking perfection] can possess the high aptitudes for such a job. The author tells me that he has included a section about that movie in his book. His purpose is to explore what he believes most people don't understand about that movie which is that it is about the effect of labeling - setting limits on ones self or others because of a description ascribed to a label. Thus that is why I actually like that movie. It is the naturally born man's drive and ambition that allows him to surpass his labeled inferiority and genetically superior brother.

He didn't allow himself to be guided by a label and ultimately achieved great success. But unlike most fictional accounts real life doesn't always offer uplifting anecdotes of man's triumphs over personal adversity. While some NCP's will flourish and experience parenting in a manner just as rewarding and enriching for their children as if still in an intact family there are others mired in the part time parent mode because they failed to prosper and outshine the custodial parent. Clients of mine often achieve success in the courtroom and outside with improved relationships with their children and the former "enemy".

It is that second group which doesn't achieve successes who most often seeks my assistance. These requests come in huge numbers that far exceed my ability to service. Yet, I am still able to service nearly everyone to whom I am willing to provide child custody focused life coaching. The great dichotomy between the number of requests I receive and the number of clients, roughly a 20:1 ratio, has perplexed me for quite some time.

I don't believe that my application process is so insurmountable or service so exclusive that every interested parent would no be able to avail themselves. Financial considerations are near the bottom of the list as my service is provided at no cost.

While I had an inclination as to the cause I have now analyzed the discrepancies between interested parties and successful clients. My conclusion will come as no surprise to judges, attorneys and other child advocates as many of them have already told me these same things. I will provide a few of the excuses that I hear as to why these parents don't want a child custody coach, what the underlying thoughts are and what those actually mean.

I just need an [new, better, more aggressive] attorney.

What this person is really saying is -- I don't need to change. Everyone else is at fault and the system is totally corrupt. They are all conspiring against me.

What this means is that this parent is not ready to accept responsibility for his or her own actions and is therefore not prepared to be given the responsibility of child custody or substantial parenting time.

I can't afford to pay you.

I have too many other conveniences and luxuries that I am not willing to sacrifice just to get more time with my child. What I actually want to do is pay less child support.

What this means is that this parent is not ready to place the needs of the child above his or her own lifestyle choices. The child has not been made a priority and therefore this parent should not have the responsibility of child custody or substantial parenting time.

I'll get back to you.

I think I can probable get through this own my own. Things seem to have calmed down lately. I am not going to pay for anything I don't absolutely need to.

What this means is that this parent is not going to be proactive. He or she will always wait until forced into a situation where a response is necessary. This parents household may likely be a dangerous environment for a child although this parent will not hesitate to seek medical attention. This parents fails to appreciate the need to plan for the future and his or her child will likely suffer for that shortcoming. Therefore this parent should not have the responsibility of child custody or substantial parenting time.

And so these usual cases just march on as they always have. Numerous times these parents make multiple requests of me. The story always follows the same course. I anticipated what the parent would need to do and offered to help. My assistance was not desired and ultimately what I predicted would happen did -- which is the result of having experience with 100's of these cases. Then the parent wants me to reverse the situation.

There is a sobering reality that most of the players in the child custody arena already know -- most NCP's are just that because they deserve to be. That is what they have selected for themselves and their children. However, this truth will likely be denied by most NCP's and the same ole tune will play on and the carousel will continue to go 'round.

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©2008, 2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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