Custody Considerations for Infants
Resolving child custody and visitation issues is often a complicated process fraught with emotion, and perhaps never more so when a baby is involved. While the “best interests of the child” is the standard typically applied by judges in awarding custody, it may be less clear with infants who can and should be caring for them.
The ability to attach and bond to a caregiver is an important developmental milestone for babies that can affect their mental health for the rest of their lives. While mothers were once traditionally considered the best de facto caregivers, this has changed in recent years. Some states award custody on specific factors, while other states allow judges a wide berth in determining the crucial elements in determining custody.
For infants, this might include a mother who is breastfeeding or whether or not a parent can spend a generous amount a time with the baby. Fathers who can show that they have consistently cared for the infant may receive greater consideration than those with less involvement in their child’s life.
Demonstrating caregiving capability
Even if both parents can demonstrate that they have competently cared for an infant — including handling overnight care on a regular basis — judges may award custody based on the special needs of infants to have predictable schedules. Another consideration is ensuring that both parents have the necessary access and time to each bond with an infant, which may necessitate a schedule of visitation that alternates daily, or arranging for the child to be seen by a parent during the daytime even if it coincides with another parent’s primary parenting time.
Although it’s true that child custody issues are often contentious, particularly if an infant is involved, the compassionate family law attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates can help you reduce the stress of the process.