When most people contemplate life with children after a divorce their thoughts may go toward considering how to explain the changes to their child. Divorce doesn’t just mean adjusting to a new routine but also learning how to co-parent a child with an ex-spouse with whom you no longer reside.
This is a difficult enough problem as it is, but in some instances the child isn’t even old enough to have a talk with. For those parents who are divorcing while their child is still very young there can be additional challenges to life post-divorce. If this is a situation that affects you and your family, please read on to learn how the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have dealt with this problem with prior clients and how we may serve you in much the same way.
Standard by which a Court evaluates child visitation under Age 3
Past clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan who have children under the age of three have had different perspectives on parenting a very young child. For the custodial parent (the parent with whom the child lives primarily) their concern is stability and consistency for the child first and foremost.
It should not surprise you then that these clients would prefer the other parent (non custodial parent) to have limited visitation with the young child with no overnight visits. On the other end of the spectrum are clients (usually Fathers) who would like as much time with their young child despite the protests of the other party.
Courts will apply a stricter standard to visitation plans for children under the age of three. Just for starters, the Court must take the following into consideration:
- the ability of the parents to share the rights, responsibilities, and duties of parenting
- the child’s physical, behavioral and developmental needs
- who previously provided care and/or the amount of contact between parents and child
- whether a transition schedule is needed to help the child adjust
- the relationship between the parents and how well they get along
- the child’s normal routine
- the distance between the parents’ residences
- the affect of the separation from either party will have on the child
- brothers and sisters (if any) of the young child
- the influence of other persons who will be present during the periods of the possession of either parent
What Parents can do to maximize their odds to get Standard Visitation
In situations where the non custodial parent has had little contact with the child a Court will most likely institute a parenting plan that calls for visitation to begin in small increments leading to more standard visitation.
These smaller increments will both allow for the young child to become acclimated to a new person in their life and allows the parent to get their feet wet when it comes to caring for an extremely young child. What attorneys sometimes reference as “stair step plans” a Court can issue an Order that requires a non custodial parent to reach certain bench marks before allowing for movement to the next step towards full fledged standard visitation with the child.
Based on this information, the best advice that can be provided to a non custodial parent would be have as an active and involved a role as possible in the life of your child.
Never having changed a diaper or woken up in the middle of the night to rock the baby back to sleep are not positive characteristics of an established parenting relationship. The more a non custodial parent is able to show a Court that they’ve been a part of the child’s life, the more likely a Court is to Order standard visitation from the get-go.
Mediation as an alternative to a Court mandated parenting plan
The most desirable option for parties is to attend mediation rather than to go to Court in order to have a judge determine the parenting plan and visitation schedule. In attending mediation the parties have an opportunity to come to their own conclusions about what is appropriate for their child rather than a stranger in a black robe.
It’s the parties that can agree on the strengths and weaknesses of one another than can avoid the tedious, expensive and drawn out nature of a courtroom divorce and instead opt to settle their case and begin to parent the child. This is opposed to attending court appearances and lawyer meetings rather than parenting the child.
Are overnight visits with a non custodial parent a good thing?
In short- yes, they are. It is based on the experience of the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan that frequent contact with both parents is critically important to raising a healthy child. A child begins to bond with their parents during their infant years and lack of time with both parents during these years may be harmful.
This is because parents bring different strengths and positive attributes to the life of a child. From having spoken to clients, mothers and fathers alike, the relationship with each parent is forged during these early years before we may even realize a bond is capable of being forged. Obviously there are reasons why visitation may need to be restricted for some parents in some situations. On the whole, however, absent extraordinary circumstances it is critical for both parents to have significant time allotted to them in a divorce decree. This would include overnight visits for children under age 3.
Experienced Representation in Southeast Texas Divorce Cases
If you are going through a divorce now is the time to investigate and retain an attorney who would best serve the interests of your family and yourself. The Houston divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are strong advocates for the rights of our clients- especially in regard to their children. While no divorce is ever easy, our attorneys and staff pride themselves on managing the issues of a divorce case and delivering results a client can be proud of. In order to learn more about our office please contact us today for a free of charge consultation.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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- Does my 18 year old child still have to go with their other parent on the weekend for court ordered visitation in Texas?
- Texas Parental Visitation - Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas - Part 1
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring 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 Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring 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, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.