Custody disputes can be the hardest part of a split. When both parents want to participate in a child’s life actively, tensions can arise quickly.
The situation becomes more challenging when dealing with an infant. Though the child often relies much on the nursing mother, this fact does not mean the non-birthing parent has no rights to custody. Parents can create an arrangement that allows both parents to be a part of the child’s life.
Considerations for sharing custody of infants
A divorce court generally prefers parents to agree on a custody arrangement, but the judge will decide if parents cannot reach a consensus. A judge will look out for the child’s interests when making decisions and will only approve a plan that keeps that goal at the forefront.
When devising a custody plan for a baby, parents must address the feeding and bonding that are part of a child’s development. Though potentially inconvenient for the parents, infants do better with short, frequent visits with each parent. Inconsistency can cause unhealthy stress in infants, so changes to the routine should be gradual.
Custody for unmarried couples
The situation can be more complex for unmarried couples. Oklahoma awards sole custody to single mothers, but the father may seek visitation rights in court. The sooner a biological father takes legal action to establish paternity, the easier it may be to secure visitation rights.
Parents and courts cannot determine the custody plan for a child’s entire life. Parents should prepare to adjust arrangements as circumstances change and possibly make custody modifications.