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Navigating Newborn Child Custody

Co-parenting and child custody are situations that couples with children often face in the wake of a divorce. While this territory can be difficult enough to negotiate with toddlers and older children, couples with newborns face specific challenges.

Fortunately, with patience and a plan, co-parenting with a newborn isn’t an impossible feat. Here are some tips that will help with negotiations and other important decisions that need to be made before a divorce is final.

Does The Mother Always Get Custody?

No. Texas is gender neutral when determining which party shall be awarded primary custody of a child including infants. Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement that a mother be proven unfit for a father to get custody.

The only legal test for the Court is to simply determine what is in the best interest of the child. In a situation where the mother is still breastfeeding a child, this is one of many factors the Court must weigh, but could well be a determining factor.

Create a Schedule and Routine That Promotes Development

In order to best develop physically, emotionally, and mentally, babies and toddlers live by strict schedules and routines. When creating your co-parenting plan, keep in mind the schedule that your child is currently on.

Even the slighted changes can be disastrous to a newborn’s development. As you plan out your schedules, make sure to double-check:

  • What time your child needs to be fed
  • Bedtime
  • Scheduled naps
  • Steady day-to-day events i.g. daycare

Keep Scheduled Custody Lengths Short

While most older kids are able to be apart from one parent days or weeks at a time with minimal issues, this simply isn’t the case for newborns and toddlers. Studies have shown that younger minds develop best when both parents are regularly present.

This doesn’t mean that you now have to cohabitate with your ex, but scheduled visits will have to be more frequent and time apart short. If you are sharing custody, 2-day increments before trading off are healthy for your child’s development.

Be Open to Communicating About Milestones

Even if you and your ex are not on the best terms, no parent wants to miss out on huge milestones like first steps and first words. If you are present for these moments and your ex isn’t around, make sure to keep them in the loop as best you can. This can easily be accomplished through recording the moment, or directly calling after it has happened.

Regardless of how you decide to share the news, open, polite communication during these times will lead to healthy co-parenting habits as your child continues to grow.

Get Help Creating a Co-Parenting Plan with the Family Attorneys at Marx, Altman & Johnson

If you are going through a divorce but have concerns about co-parenting or child custody in general, an experienced family law attorney can help. Family law firm, Marx, Altman & Johnson, focuses our practice on divorce and the key negotiations involved between couples. When your children’s future is on the line, don’t leave anything up to chance. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation about our services.

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