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What is the Best Custody Arrangement if I Have an Infant?

Posted On April 5, 2021 In Child Custody

Child custody and visitation arrangements are among the most complex parts of any divorce case or legal separation.  When the child involved is two years of age or under, making a child custody arrangement can seem an impossibility.

There is no one size fits all custody arrangement for couples who share an infant.  Instead, parents who can should sit down together and discuss a parenting plan that meets their specific needs and expectations.

When determining a custody arrangement, parents need to:

  • Keep an open mind;
  • Express their primary concerns;
  • Look at each other’s schedules; and
  • Compromise on a plan that is in their child’s best interests.

Since parents know themselves, their children, and their schedules best, when able they should attempt to make a child custody arrangement independent of the family law judge.  An experienced family law attorney can be a vital part of creating a solid child custody agreement.  

How Will the Court Decide on an Infant Custody Arrangement?

A family court judge should be the last party to get involved in a custody arrangement.  The Arizona family court encourages parents to fashion their own infant custody schedules.  

In the past, courts automatically granted primary custody of infants to their mothers.  Today, the court may grant either parent custody of a couple’s infant child based upon the best interests of that child.

When determining the best interests of a child, the court looks to each parent’s:

  • Relationship with the infant;
  • Home environment;
  • Stability; 
  • Ability to co-parent; and
  • Any other factors the court deems appropriate.

The parent-child relationship from infancy through young adulthood is imperative to building and maintaining a strong parent-child bond.  Therefore, the court will try to make an arrangement that allows the consistent care and attention of both parents in an infant’s life.  

Consistency and Daily Routine in an Infant’s Life

While every child custody case must be examined individually, a child’s developmental needs are generally the same at different ages.  Infants learn permanence over time and need routine and consistent contact with both parents.  

This may be accomplished through the following opportunities:

  • Developing a routine for exchanging the infant and saying goodbye;  
  • Allowing the other parent to help feed, bathe, and put the infant to bed;
  • Taking advantage of the other parent’s free time instead of using a babysitter;
  • Letting the other parent pick up the infant from child care early; and
  • Allowing the other parent to meet or accompany the co-parent to the infant’s doctor appointments; 

Executing any child custody schedule should happen as soon as possible and continue as regularly as possible.  Additional time needs added as the infant ages, eventually growing into overnight visits.

The experienced family law attorneys at Wilson-Goodman, PLLC, can help you create a child custody schedule as detailed and specific as you like, depending on your relationship with your co-parent.  We can also help with any unique situations you may need to account for with your schedule or infant’s needs.

Call Wilson-Goodman, PLLC, today to schedule your appointment.  Our skilled Chandler divorce attorneys look forward to answering all of your infant custody questions, and we will be happy to show you sample schedules to make your decisions easier.