Every family is different. Parents must learn to co-parent together outside of marriage when their child is still very young. In those cases, it’s a good idea to talk with your lawyer about what’s best for your family. Babies and toddlers have needs and abilities different from those of an older child.
Co-Parenting When a Child Is Under Three Years Old
In most cases involving children and divorce, courts believe that something called a Standard Possession Order is in the best interests of a child. A Standard Possession Order is intended to protect the best interests of children when determining how the non-custodial parent (the parent the children don’t live with) spends time with them. It generally lists what weekdays, weekends and holidays both parents can have with their children.
Texas law, however, says that Standard Possession Orders are not meant for children less than three years old. Instead, Texas courts consider a series of factors, including things like:
- The physical, medical, behavioral and developmental needs of the child
- The effect on the child of separation from either parent
- The caregiving provided to the child before the current custody lawsuit
- The child’s need for routine
- The age of the child
Things to Consider When Co-Parenting a Very Young Child
When you and your ex break up or divorce while your child is very young, the child will never remember that you were ever together. What they will remember is that you and the other parent worked together to give your child the best life possible–that you loved him or her and treated each other with respect.
Respectful co-parenting means choosing to work together, even when you disagree. It means communicating about your baby’s needs or toddler’s needs and making sure to involve both parents as those needs change. This is especially important when caring for a young child who can’t effectively communicate their needs and who is growing quickly.
To make successful co-parenting happen, many experts recommend arranging short and frequent visits with the non-custodial parent. For young children, they’re less stressful than long, overnight visits. A schedule for a young child might plan for a few hours a few times a week. Time can and should be extended as the child grows older.
Get Help With Child Custody. Contact an Attorney.
Of course, every family’s needs are different. It’s best to talk with a lawyer about yours. If you need legal help with co-parenting a baby or toddler, you can start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you.