If you’re a father with a baby at home and are going through a
divorce it’s likely that you have questions regarding how much time you’re
going to be able to have with your child after the divorce is finalized.
After all, infants are on a pretty strict feeding schedule and cannot be
away from their mothers for long if they are breast feeding. Toddlers
may eat solid food but their lives are still regimented into a comfortable
routine. Where does your time as a Dad fit into that schedule of nursing
By the same token, some of you reading this blog post may be mothers who
have an infant at home. If you are having to deal with a divorce on top
of the other issues associated with the baby it’s likely that your
stress level is at an all-time high.
Are you able to take comfort in knowing that since you’re nursing
the child you are likely to be awarded primary custody in a divorce from
divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to outline some factors
that we believe are important in young child (under three years of age)
Texas divorce cases. While there are few things that we can tell you with one hundred percent
certainty there are items that are worth informing you all of.
Are mothers granted custody automatically for children under the age of three?
In a word- no. Just because a child is young or nursing does not mean that
it is a given that the mother will be granted primary conservatorship
without further discussion or challenge from a father.
If you are a mom who is entering into the
divorce process with a very young child in your care it is critical to know that the judge
will review a list of factors when determining what living situation is
best for the child. Whether or not the infant or toddler is breast feeding
is just one factor to consider.
Does the Texas Family Code have a provision concerning breast feeding moms?
Not specifically, no. It’s the case where there is not much as far
as detail that is available on this precise subject.
For people (and you can county myself as a father of two as one of them)
who spend each day needing to know the precise amount of medicine to give
a child with a fever or just how many cookies are too many, not knowing
exactly how a court will rule on a subject like this is nerve wracking.
A judge will review the situation presented to him or her and will determine
what is in the child’s best interests. A conservatorship arrangement
with visitation for the non-primary parent will be scheduled and ordered.
While this is not an exhaustive list of what a judge would primarily consider
you can safely bet that the following will be considered when a decision
on custody has to be made:
- the relationship between each parent and the child
- if there is any history of domestic violence or drug abuse by either parent
- the potential home environments that each parent offers the child
- the co-parenting skills of both parents and whether the each parent will
make an effort to further the child’s relationship with the other parent
- income, health and age of each parent
Does the Texas Family Code mention anything about children under the age of 3?
The Texas Family Code contains the statutes that govern a
divorce case as well as child custody determinations. Texas Family Code section 153.254
does state that a court will need to create an appropriate order when
dealing with a child under the age of three.
There is little guidance, however, on what “appropriate” means
leaving a great deal of discretion to the judge.
What is often in the best interests of a very young child is not what is
in their best interests after age three. The stability of remaining in
the same home environment on a more consistent basis may lead a judge
to award less in the way of visitation with the non-primary parent than
might ordinarily be awarded with an older child.
What occurs with some frequency is a judge implementing a “stair-step”
visitation order that allows the non-primary parent more time with the
child the older the child gets.
What is best for the child may not be easy for either parent to handle
The age old theory that mothers have an advantage in a custody case, especially
one involving a child under the age of three, is not necessarily true
anymore. I have seen cases where a judge has ordered expanded visitation
for a father which meant mom had to make alternative plans when it came
to breast feeding.
The point is this: if you are a mom and believe that it will be a slam
dunk that you are awarded primary conservatorship of your little one just
because you’re the mother, you may have another thing coming.
Certainly, breast feeding is important and nurturing the mother-child bond
is crucial. Breast fed babies are said to be on the whole healthier while
it also benefits the mother physically and emotionally. An attorney arguing
the case for a mother would probably make a point to emphasize this factor.
If you’re a father, it would make sense to point out that studies
show that continuous and prolonged contact between a child and a father
early in the child’s development is also extremely beneficial. Either
way, a custody battle in regard to a young child can be extremely contentious
so choosing the right
divorce lawyer for you and your family could not be more important.
Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan for a free consultation
If you have questions about a child custody matter or any
family law issue, please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A consultation with our
office is free of charge to speak with a licensed
family law attorney.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
CLICK the button below to get your
“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Kingwood Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with ar
Kingwood, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
divorce lawyer in Kingwood TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing
a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Spring, Texas,
Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and