Divorcing with a Newborn

It is normal for families to struggle with the addition of a new baby. There are changes to the family dynamic, less sleep, more stress, financial difficulties can get worse, and there are a lot of emotionally charged moments, good and bad. But just when your family should be getting stronger, it can sometimes fall apart.

Divorces that happen right after the birth (or within the first year) of a new baby are incredibly difficult. Child custody isn’t as straightforward as with older children, especially if a new mom is breastfeeding. It is essential to understand what to expect when you are divorcing with a newborn, infant, or young toddler.

Does a Mom Get Full Custody at First?

Custody considerations vary on a case-by-case basis, so it isn’t necessarily set in stone. That being said, no judge is going to take a newborn away from their mother for an extended period of time unless it is in that child’s best interest to do so. We are talking: drugs or abuse. The court understands the emotional and practical concerns with a breastfeeding infant. It is paramount to establishing a proper supply that a mom is with her baby for the first few months as much as possible. A husband will undoubtedly be given time with his newborn, but it may be for short durations of time so that the mother can breastfeed. As the baby gets older, this time will increase gradually.

When Can a Newborn Have Overnight Visitation?

Every child is different, depending on the circumstances. If a mother is breastfeeding exclusively, it may be until a child is weaned at around 12 months. If the child takes a bottle, then overnight could be an option. A parent may have a work schedule that does not allow for typical visitation times, and overnights are the only time they can manage. Each family has unique challenges, so it is vital to fully understand the needs of the child, along with the ability of each parent to care for them. Mediation allows parents to create a personalized agreement to co-parenting, not the one-size-fits-all approach the court takes.

Are you divorcing with a newborn? Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center. We can provide information in a FREE consultation, which is 100% confidential.

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