Court Ordered Parenting Schedules for Children Under Two Years Old
The Best Interests of the Child
When ruling on a court-ordered parenting plan, the Colorado family law courts are tasked to consider the best interests of the children. When a motion for the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities has been filed, and there are very young children involved, many of our Colorado judges and magistrates will often assign one parent as the primary caregiver. The court’s designation is based on the basic premise that children between 6 months and 2 years of age become attached to the parent who most consistently offers them the kind and sensitive responses that they need.
Children are attached when they seek contact with a specific caregiver when they are feeling needful. An infant’s or toddler’s attachment to a protective caregiver helps them to regulate their reactions in times of stress and allows for the normal emotional and social development. Attachment is a major developmental milestone for a child and remains an important issue throughout life.
Designating a Primary Parent
Based on the abundance of psychological research regarding attachment, the courts will sometimes rule in favor of the parent who provides primary care while restricting overnight visits with the other parent. In these situations, a graduated plan is often implemented to ensure equal time with both parents until the child is old enough to venture from the primary parent without having a negative reaction.
Creating Consistency for the Child
When separating parents are discussing the best and varied needs of their infant or toddler, they too must consider the best needs of their child. Infants and toddlers need consistency in their lives and the parenting plan should allow your young child to have a predictable routine for meals and bedtimes. If your child is breastfeeding, this fact must also be taken into consideration. Your child will need frequent contact with their primary caregiver. Their memories have not yet developed, and they need reassurance that their caregiver is close by.
Parents Working Together
When divorced or separated parents work together for the sake of their children’s best interests, there are ways that they can create parenting plans that allows both parents to have time with the child they love. One of the best ways to accomplish this when circumstances allow, is for the non-custodial parent to have frequent but relatively brief contacts with their baby during the first year of life. These contacts can increasingly become longer and less frequent as babies become toddlers, preschoolers, etc. When the court creates a graduated parenting plan, the language within the court order often addresses the issue of providing equal parenting time as the child matures. In this way, the child has experienced the security of a consistent caregiver in the beginning of their maturation process, and as they grow, they are able to spend time in two loving households with two loving parents to receive the care and nurturing they deserve from both of their parents.
The Bercovitz Law Firm Can Handle Your Family Law Matter
Elissa Bercovitz is a highly experienced Colorado family law attorney who is dedicated to handling all aspects of domestic relations law including the allocation of parental responsibility for parents of infants and toddlers. She can advise you on your rights and options according to Colorado law and is prepared to offer you the assistance, legal counsel, and protection you need to resolve your legal matter and restore balance to your life. Her goal is to serve your best interests, and she will provide you with a free consultation to answer all your questions about your legal issue. She can assist you with protection orders, divorce, custody modifications, paternity, post-decree issues and all matters associated with Colorado family law issues. Call Elissa Bercovitz to schedule a consultation at 303 803-1678.