Best Custodial Time for Infants

Why was I not given more time with my son?

When my son’s mother and I split up, Xander was 4 months old.

I was hoping that we could establish some sort of arrangement where we would have him an equal amount of time. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

I was stuck with 9 hours a week with no overnights.

Apparently, this is what is best in the eyes of the court if a child is younger than a year old. This notion could not be more wrong.

Modern day research shows that both parents are equally as important. The best thing for a child to have, regardless of age, is equal time with both parents.

He was beginning to form attachments to both myself and his mother. These attachments generally begin to take off at 7 months old. By taking him away from myself, the family court system had put the attachment that I was building with my son in danger.

This worries me. The family law system that I put my trust in to establish the best interest for my child is doing the exact opposite. This gives a major snapshot as to why children of separated parents are more prone to be faced with dropping out of school, poverty, and substance abuse. These are just a few of the challenges that these children are at high risk to face.

I am unaware just how much training people of the law have regarding the developmental needs for a child, but it seems like it is not enough. A simple fix for this is to make it mandatory that a developmental psychologist be present for any and all mediations and major meetings regarding custody.

Even if this is not possible due to the amount of cases that judges and mediators face, they should still be up to date on recent developmental research. You can find all of this information with a quick google search.

So if the courts idea of best custodial periods is not what’s best for our children, then what is?

Leading developmental psychologists recommend a 2/2 schedule is best for children.

A 2/2 schedule is where each parent is able to enjoy custody of the child for 2 days at a time. This minimizes time away from each parent while also promoting the relationship between each parent. It gives each parent equal time to actually be a parent and influence their child’s life.

This type of schedule is great for maintaining or creating a stable relationship between a parent and child.

This type of schedule is also incredibly beneficial for the parents as well. Parents show greater parental satisfaction when utilizing a joint physical custody schedule, such as a 2/2 schedule. This occurs even if they are against using a joint physical custody schedule.

This means that the parents have a better shot at cooperating with each other to meet the best interests for their child.

If you are about to go through the process of splitting up time with your child between yourself and your co-parent, then I urge you to do some research on best schedules for your child. Do not be naive as I was and believe that the courts will order the best thing for your child. Chances are that they honestly do not know what is best for your child.

Take note that though 2/2 is generally the best custodial schedule, it might not be what is best for your child. Each child and situation is different, and this is why I want to urge you to do your own research. Please do not just go off of my word. Use me as a base to determine what will be best for your child. The education that comes with doing your own research will go a long way.

Here are a few articles to get you started.

Using Child Development Research to Make Appropriate Custody and Access Decisions for Young Children – Michael Lamb; Joan B. Kelly

Developing Beneficial Parenting Plan Models for Children Following Separation and Divorce – Joan B. Kelly

Child Adjustment in Joint-Custody Versus Sole-Custody Arrangements: A Meta-Analytic Review – Robert Bauserman

I wish you luck in creating a schedule that is best for your child.

Stay wild

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