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How to design visitation around a baby

As new parents know, the needs of a baby trump all else. For parents who are getting a divorce or who have already divorced, working out custody and visitation when a child is a baby can become difficult. You have to consider when the baby needs to be fed, when it sleeps and design a schedule that is as routine as possible.

It's usually in parents' best interests to design a visitation and custody schedule together instead of allowing the court to determine one. This gives you the chance to get to know your child's needs and to make a routine that fits them. Here are a couple things you should think about while designing your plan.

1. The non-custodial parent should see the baby, too

Yes, a baby does need routine, and typically, young babies stay with their mothers due to needing to feed. For parents who want to see their babies but aren't the custodial parent, it's important to work out a schedule that doesn't stress the baby. That might mean visiting the child at the mother's or father's home, depending on who has custody.

Since infants can't tell time and don't understand time well, it's a good idea to have several times during the week where the noncustodial parent comes to see the child. This allows for better bonding.

2. You can plan visitation down to the hour

The good thing about planning visitation is that you can create a plan down to the hour. Do you know that your child is typically napping between 2 and 3 p.m.? It might be advisable for the parent to have visitation before or after that time, so he or she can settle the child for a nap or be there when the little one wakes.

Reaching an agreement isn't always easy, but if you keep your child's needs in mind, you can find common ground. Create a plan that gives you the time you need with your infant, so you can bond as a family.

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