Divorce impacts the entire family and can be difficult for all members to adjust to, including the family’s youngest members. If you have an infant under eighteen months old, your co-parenting strategies may look different than someone who has an eight-year-old.
Indiana’s parenting guidelines outline how to handle shared custody when you have an infant.
Plan for frequent visits
Infants do not perceive time as adults do. They have a limited ability to understand time and to remember people not in front of them. If you or your former spouse only sees the baby every other weekend, the infant could forget one parent in favor of the other. Infants require almost daily contact with both parents.
If you cannot swing daily visits, try not to go more than two days without seeing the baby. You must be frequent and predictable with babies.
Work as a team
Infants require you and your spouse to continue to work as a team. While overnight contact is essential to childhood development, separating babies from their primary caretaker can also lead to stress. Babies should continue their nighttime routine as close to normal as possible.
If one parent does not provide regular hands-on care, he or she should not have overnight parenting time until he or she can develop a predictable daytime routine. The noncustodial parent should not have overnight responsibilities for more than one set 24-hour period per week.
Your child’s first few years of life are critical to overall development. Babies need contact with both parents to thrive and a common split schedule with parents may not work.