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Family Law Newsletter

 

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Co-Parenting Infants 0-6 Months

One of the most heartbreaking issues in family law is when unmarried parents can’t agree on custody of their infant.

A child’s well-being is greatly affected by the way their parents interact with each other, especially around co-parenting. People may believe that small children are not affected by emotional estrangement but, in fact, they are particularly vulnerable to tension and arguing between parents and other family members. It’s vital that parents and other family care-givers put aside disagreements and ill-feelings while in the infant’s presence.

Further, every child has the right to bond with both parents and should be given frequent contact with each parent. This may be inconvenient, but contact with both parents in the early stages of infancy is just as important as when the child becomes older. This is because a sense of security with caregivers is one of the cornerstones for healthy development.

Infants learn to trust and love through developing attachments to those who care for them. Consistent responses from their caregivers in the day-to-day activities of feeding, changing, bathing, and holding foster this sense of security which is the foundation for later development. Parents who have participated in these routines are also more attuned to the child’s needs and are more able to soothe and comfort the child when distressed.

When parents separate during a child’s early years, it is especially important for them to consider the patterns of caregiving prior to the separation when planning for custody. If one parent has been more involved in an infant’s care, the parents may wish to maintain that arrangement in the short term, but ensure that the other parent has frequent contact. Frequent contact may be defined as at least three non-consecutive days each week for a period of two hours each day. If at all possible, time with the non-residential parent should aim not to disrupt the infant’s nap and feeding pattern.

For families where both parents have been highly involved in the hands-on care of the child, these patterns of care should be maintained as much as possible and may include overnight time for the child in both parents’ homes.

Maintaining a regular sleeping and feeding cycle in both homes will help the child feel more secure. It is critical that an infant be afforded ample opportunity to maintain and develop reciprocal attachments to both parents through these measures. Infants and young children have not yet developed a sense of time so have a limited ability to recall persons not directly in front of them. An infant should not be separated from either parent for long periods of time.

At some points, infants may show little resistance to transitions between caregivers, while at other points, they may cry or cling to the caregiver. These behaviors are typical and not necessarily indicative of problems in the relationship with either parent.

Remember, we host a Free Family Law and Divorce Workshop on the second Saturday of every month. Our next workshop is Saturday, September 8 from 10AM to 12PM. Call (818) 348-6700 to RSVP.

Best wishes,

Ty Supancic, Esq.

The Law Collaborative Los Angeles
Woodland Hills Divorce Attorneys
T: 818-348-6700                

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