What Kind of Parenting Plan is Best for a Baby?
When a couple with one or more minor children divorces, a child custody order – commonly known as a parenting plan – is part of their divorce settlement. Every parenting plan created by Florida courts is personally tailored to the child’s specific needs. The child’s age plays a significant role in determining the plan that is in his or her best interest.
How the Court Develops Parenting Plans
The court develops a parenting plan for a child based on what it deems to be in the child’s best interest. This means that if the child has special needs, the parenting plan will ensure that the child has access to the care and academic resources he or she needs. It also means that the amount of time the child spends with each parent, each parent’s responsibilities toward the child, and the schedule on which the child spends time in each parent’s home is tailored to what the court determines best serves the child’s emotional, physical, psychological, medical, and academic needs.
The factors it considers to make this determination include:
- The child’s medical needs;
- The child’s relationship with each parent and every other member of his or her household;
- The desirability of keeping the child in his or her current environment and routine; and
- The child’s ability to articulate a well-reasoned preference.
Because a baby cannot articulate his or her preference, the court must make this important determination solely based on the facts presented.
Considerations to Make when Developing a Parenting Plan for a Baby or Toddler
Babies and toddlers thrive when they have predictable routines. A parenting plan for a baby or toddler must create this necessary structure. It must also allow for regular milestone doctor visits and clearly state the parents’ individual rights to make decisions about the child’s vaccination schedule.
If the baby is breastfeeding, the court may opt to avoid overnight visits until he or she is weaned.
Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Effective Co-Parenting for Very Young Children
Many people assume babies and toddlers do not need as structured parenting plans as older children because they do not have school schedules and are not yet forming memories. The truth is that babies and toddlers are actively forming attachments to their parents and others in their households, and without a predictable schedule and regular interaction with both parents, a very young child will not develop these attachments. Additionally, it is true that babies cannot yet form memories – which is why it is especially critical for a baby to see both parents regularly.
Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Lawyer
When you are working through your divorce and developing an appropriate parenting plan for your children, work closely with an experienced Orlando family lawyer who can help you create the plan that is in your children’s best interest. To get started with The Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., contact our office today to set up your initial legal consultation.