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Newborn and Infant Custody Agreements that Grow with Your Child

Updated on January 30, 2012

Create a Comprehensive Parenting Plan for Your Child

When you look at your tiny baby, it can be hard to imagine that one day he or she will learn to ride a bike and even drive a car. Babies grow up so fast. A parenting plan for an infant is not going to meet the needs of a teenager. If you are facing a custody situation, you will need to make a newborn custody agreement that grows with your child.

The first step of making your infant custody agreement is to decide who the baby is going to live with. Physical custody is the kind of custody that pertains to where the child will live and who will take care of the child. Most states have two basic kinds of physical custody:

Sole custody means one parent is the child’s main caregiver and the child lives with this parent most of the time. The other parent (the non-custodial parent) is usually entitled to visitation rights.

Joint custody means the parents share time with the child in a more equitable manner, though this does not necessarily mean that they have to divide the child’s time equally between them. Both parents are responsible for keeping a home for the child and taking care of the child on a regular basis.

Sometimes parents have a hard time agreeing on which type of custody they should have. A lot of states have a preference to award joint custody but some do not have any preference. Regardless, each case will be decided by what would be best for the child and the court will consider all of the factors that affect the child’s best interest when making a decision.

You will also need to decide what type of legal custody you will have. Legal custody means the rights and responsibilities of a parent to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Joint legal custody means both parents have legal custody of the child and sole legal custody means only one parent does. It is possible for parents to have joint legal custody while one parent has sole physical custody.

Once you have determined custody, you will be ready to move on to the features of your custody plan that will need to change as your child grows.

The child visitation schedule and the parenting stipulations you would like to include in your agreement should change as your child matures. Your child will have different needs as a newborn, an infant, a toddler, a preschooler, and throughout elementary school, junior high, and high school.

You can include general guidelines and schedules for the various stages of your child’s life in your newborn custody agreement. However, the best way to ensure your parenting plan is age appropriate and effective is to include provisions to periodically review the agreement and a good method for modifying it.

Your custody agreement should also contain a method for dispute resolution that will allow you to work out any differences you may have in the future so you will avoid going back to court.

As you make your parenting plan, you will need to keep in mind that if you want to stay in control of the contents of your custody arrangements you should make every effort to work with the other parent and reach an agreement. Otherwise the court will make those decisions for you.

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