Successful Custody Agreements for Infants
You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates parenting plans for custody agreements. You make each part of your agreement, and then you can print professional documents of your plan.
Before a custody agreement is approved, the courts consider all of the relevant factors that contribute to the child's best interests and make decisions based on what is best for the child.
When you are making a custody agreement for an infant, you should always think about what would be best for the child. You will also need to keep in mind that your child's needs will change and include arrangements to address the various stages of development in your child's life.
As you start to make your custody and visitation schedule, you should consider the availability of each parent and utilize free time in a way that provides the baby with the optimal amount of time with each parent.
Since babies are so young, it is important for them to have frequent contact with both parents, even if the duration of the visits is not very long. It is more beneficial for a baby to see the non-primary parent three or four times a week for two to four hours at a time than it would be for a baby to see the other parent once a week for sixteen hours.
Once you figure out a schedule that works for you, it is important to execute it with consistency so that your infant can get into a routine. You can add on additional visitation time as the baby grows and as you work toward overnight visits.
When you use Custody X Change, it is easy to make adjustments to the visitation schedule so you will always have an up to date calendar as a reference.
Even babies that have two parents living in the same home can develop separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a normal stage that some babies go through as they develop.
Since babies are still learning about the world around them, the concept of object permanence must be learned over time. A baby with separation anxiety will panic and cry when a parent (or other caregiver) is out of sight, even if they are just in the next room.
Although it is perfectly normal, that doesn't mean separation anxiety is any fun for the baby or the parents.
The best way to try to prevent separation anxiety during visitation is for the baby to have plenty of frequent, routine contact with both parents so the absence of one parent may be offset by the comfort of being with the other parent.
You may also want to develop a routine for exchanging the child and saying goodbye. Eventually the baby will catch on and know what to expect.
If your baby develops separation anxiety, you should keep in mind that it is normal and the baby will grow out of it. You also should not feel bad or discouraged if your baby starts screaming when it is time to exchange the child for visitation.
Who doesn't want their child to have a good relationship with both parents?
A newborn will benefit from being loved and nurtured by both parents.
If you are able to maintain a civil relationship with your baby's other parent, there are some ways that you can give your child additional time with him or her if it is feasible (from the perspective of the custodial parent):
Allow your ex to come to your home to help take care of the baby, whether it is just stopping in for a scheduled feeding, bath-time, putting the baby to bed, etc. Newborns are “new”, so even a half an hour is an incredibly long amount of time for them.
Take advantage of the times you have things to do and your ex is available. If you want to go to the gym, run errands, have an appointment, or even just want to take a nap, see if your ex is available to spend a little extra time with your newborn before you enlist the help of a babysitter.
If you work, offer your ex the opportunity to provide childcare. When a child has two good parents, it is always preferable for a parent to care for the child rather than an outside caregiver. Even if your ex could just pick the baby up from the babysitter earlier than you are able to, it would let your baby spend extra time with that parent.
Allow your ex to accompany you to the baby's doctor appointments. If you share legal custody of the child, as most active parents do, your newborn's other parent should welcome the opportunity to be included. Plus, since you both will be aware of the child's medical care, you will be spared from having to explain everything to the other parent.
As long as both parents are good parents, spending time with both of them will be a tremendous benefit to any baby.
You can add provisions into your custody agreement to offer the non-custodial parent the option to spend additional time with the baby on a less structured basis (in addition to the visitation time allotted in the visitation schedule) or just make a verbal agreement to do so.
You can also use Custody X Change to keep track of the extra time so you will always have an accurate measure of how much time each of you spends with the baby.
Whether a baby is bottle fed or breastfed is a personal decision that should be made by the parents.
Breastfeeding has many benefits to the baby but the obvious downfall of it is that only the mother can nurse the baby.
The main benefit of bottle feeding is that anyone can feed the baby, however, breastfeeding does not have to interfere with visitation.
Some babies readily accept a bottle of breast milk and can go back and forth between the bottle and nursing. If this works for your situation and the mother is willing to provide the milk (or if your baby is formula fed), there should not be any feeding related issues that could interfere with visitation.
However, there are some babies who reject a bottle completely. If your baby is a “momma only” sort of baby, you will have to work the visitation around his or her feeding times. New babies nurse frequently (every two to three hours) so it may be wise to have shorter visits or even keep the mother nearby.
The good news is that the older a baby gets, the longer the periods in between feedings are. How often an older baby will nurse really depends on the baby, so you will still need to work around the baby's schedule but it should be easier to do so.
Most states have legislation that addresses breastfeeding, (nursing in public, etc.) but only a few have laws in place that address how breastfeeding will have an effect on custody. A court will, however, consider breastfeeding as one of the factors that have an effect on the best interest of the child.
If breastfeeding is creating an issue with custody and visitation, you should keep in mind that is the right of the child to breastfeed which is even more important the mother's right to do so.
A father wouldn't have much luck going to court to force a mother to breastfeed. Attempting to force a mother to stop breastfeeding or attempting to interfere with it is just as ridiculous.
Stipulations regarding feeding methods and any dietary restrictions can easily be made to your parenting plan when you use the Custody X Change software.