Divorce can be hard not just for the adults involved in the process but upon the children who are affected by their parents’ separation. While older children may understand a little better what is happening, particularly if their friends have faced a similar situation, smaller children may face greater feelings of abandonment if one parent is no longer in their lives.
If you are currently facing separation or a divorce, it is important to establish effective shared parenting practices which are in the best interest of the children. Although shared parenting is important no matter the age of the child, the following are some tips for the shared parenting of babies as established by the Massachusetts Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) when parents are living apart.
It is important to understand that babies cannot be away from either parent for an extended period of time if meaningful relationships are to be built with both parents. For example, babies up to nine months old should visit with the non-residential parent several times each week, and the child should not be away from either parent for more than a few days at a time. If the child has a preferred caregiver, extended separation from that parent should be avoided, even if this is difficult for the other parent.
When the non-residential parent has not previously been involved in the child’s care, visits should be for several hours every few days throughout the week. The length of visits can be increased if the parent already has a good relationship with the child or as that relationship develops.
Communication between parents about their baby is also essential. This may require setting aside your own pride and making the effort to get along with your divorced or separated spouse for the good of your child (or children). A daily log can be created which can be exchanged depending upon which parent is currently caring for the child. This log should include sleeping, eating, diapering, and other developments for the baby.
If your divorce is affecting a child older than a few months old, we encourage you to view the tips offered by the AFCC so you can more effectively parent your child or children even when you are living in different households. Of course, these tips might need to be adapted if there are distance issues, problems of abuse, or other issues which make regular interaction with both parents unrealistic.
If you find yourself in need of a divorce lawyer to help you through the process, contact us. At the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, we have assisted hundreds of families through their divorce proceedings. We understand families are important, and we will work for what is best for you as well as your children.