Child custody in Washington State is already very complicated and emotional – but the issues surrounding the parental custody of an infant can be even more so. Because children under the age of one are so young and vulnerable, they require close care, a stable environment, and one or more people to emotionally attach to. They also require a number of special products and consideration, making joint physical custody difficult.
Why is joint physical custody rare when it comes to infants and babies?
- Breastfeeding. Logistically, regardless of whether or not the father of the child deserves more time with his kid, a baby who is being breastfed can often not go long periods of time without being with his mother. While breast milk can be frozen and bottled, long visits are very difficult to arrange and overnight visits are not often recommended until the child is weaned.
- Attachment. The first year of a baby’s life is one filled with development, learning, and wonder. It is also a very vulnerable time. Because of this, young babies often attach to their caregivers for emotional support as well as physical needs. While babies can attach to more than one person, they usually need the emotional support of their primary caregiver early in life.
- The expense of a baby. Unlike older children, babies require a significant amount of specialized products, including a safe crib, baby gates, diapers, bottles, strollers and car seats. In some situations, it can be difficult to prepare two homes for a baby or coordinate a swap of the baby’s requirements at each visit.
- The best interests of a child. Most psychologists agree that emotionally, a child should not spend equal time split between two households, two caregivers, and two environments. While a custody and visitation plan could change down the road, it is the professional opinion that infants should be primarily with their mother except in certain situations.
Fathers or others seeking custody should not take the decision to grant primary custody of their baby to the mother personally: it is simply often the best solution to a very difficult problem. Once the child becomes older, easier to care for, and more emotionally stable, visitation can increase and judges will more seriously consider joint custody.
Are you in a Washington State custody battle for your infant or young child? Speak with a Bellevue child support lawyer at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550 to enlist an experienced attorney in your fight.