What Is a Custodial Parent?

Today many children do not grow up in households where they are raised by two parents who birthed or adopted them. Instead, many grow up in all different kinds of family structures–including those with divorced or separated parents who live in different houses.
When two parents who share a child don’t raise them in the traditional family structure, it may become necessary to determine who the custodial parent should be.
But what is a custodial parent exactly? This guide explains exactly what this legal term means, why it can be important to be defined as the custodial parent and how to try to become a custodial parent if that’s your preference.