A schedule for child custody and visitation is something most parents in Texas must create if they are getting a divorce, but they may encounter some additional challenges if their child is still an infant. The purpose of visitation with infants is to ensure that the child bonds with the noncustodial parent. This can usually be done with visits of half an hour several times per week.
A custodial parent may struggle with the idea of letting the other parent have responsibility for the child even for just a few hours. For new parents, it can feel as though no one else can learn the child’s different cries and cues, but the other parent can do so even if parenting styles differ. Mothers who are breastfeeding may have additional concerns. If they are struggling to pump, they may be reluctant to leave the child with the other parent for very long.
Courts often do not allow overnights with the noncustodial parent until the child is older, and parents can work around the child’s sleep and eating schedule to make it easier on a nursing mother. For some parents, formula can be a solution. If overnights are a possibility, in addition to the bonding opportunity for the noncustodial parent, it can give the custodial parent a chance to get some rest.
Whatever the age of the child, it is usually best if parents are able to reach an agreement regarding custody and visitation without going to court. This can be less expensive and stressful than litigation. However, if both parents want primary custody or if a parent is concerned that the child will be unsafe with the other parent, litigation might be the only option. An attorney may be able to help a parent prepare for going to court.