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Newborn and Infant Visitation Schedules—Advice for Dads
Getting the Time You Deserve
The reasons you are not in a romantic relationship with your baby’s mother are irrelevant.
You are now tied to her for the rest of your life (parenting doesn’t end at age 18) so you might as well make the best of your parental relationship. Even after your child’s graduation, you will be brought together with your ex for weddings and grandchildren’s birthday parties, etc. The sooner you figure out how to stay civil while in the same room with her, the better, unless you want to spend the rest of your life in awkward misery.
A lot of men who find themselves wrapped up in a custody battle over their baby don’t get a fair shake. Sure, many states have laws that prevent “gender discrimination” in custody cases. Both parents are equally entitled to custody of their children yet overall, women are overwhelmingly favored by the courts.
If you want to get the parenting time with your child that you are entitled to and deserve, you are going to have to know your rights and fight for them. You should be able to find the laws pertaining to child custody and visitation for your state online. A little research will prepare you for what to expect in and out of court.
Most courts will accept a parenting plan if both parents agree on it. If you are able to create an infant visitation schedule that you and your ex agree on, the judge will review it to make sure it is written in the best interests of the child and will typically approve it.
The key to custody success is actually AGREEING. The phrase “custody battle” rings true when your ex tends to disagree, argue, and even make things up in an effort to keep you away from your child. If you are a good father and a good person, there is no reason why you should be kept from your child, but the generic custody agreements that are commonly ordered by judges quite often do just that. Every other weekend? That’s four days a month! If you want to be a parent instead of a visitor, you are going to need to work things out with your ex.
Being nice goes a long way, even when your ex is nothing even remotely close to nice. Don’t argue with her. Don’t raise your voice in court or mediation. Do not threaten her or engage in any activity that could be construed as hostile. Until you have a finalized court order, you are going to need to be on your best behavior because chances are, anything you do or say can and will be brought up in court.
You should also be respectful. Dress appropriately in court. Show up on time, every time. If you miss even one court date, it is likely that it will cost you dearly. Don’t argue with her in front of the judge. Speak directly to the judge when it is your turn. If she starts saying things that aren’t true or you would like to address, take notes so you don’t forget and bring them up with the judge when it is your turn to speak. Show emotion without being aggressive.
If you need to make a newborn visitation schedule, be patient and flexible. It is not uncommon for newborn visitation to occur at the mother’s house for the first few weeks. You may want to request that a third party be present during your visits if you think it will help. The visitation schedule you create now will change as your baby gets older and you are able to spend more time with her. If you remain on your best behavior now it should pay off in the long run.
If you are able to maintain a friendly relationship with your baby’s mother, you may be able to spend extra time with your baby. She will be more likely to ask you to watch the baby you when she needs to run errands or allow you to stop by on occasion to help with bath time or other caregiving duties.
If you don’t agree with your custody arrangements, keep trying. Follow the plan you are given to the letter and keep records of all of your visits and communications with the mother. This will help you when you need to return to court.
Stay positive and good things will come to you.