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What's the best way to share custody of a newborn?

As a new parent, you may find it hard to envision spending any amount of time apart from your infant. You may not have much of choice in the matter if you and your child's other parent have split up. All parents can exercise their parental rights to visitation or custody of their child, after all. There are some factors that you should consider if you're facing having to share your newborn with your ex.

Many new parents' biggest fear is that their child's other parent won't take care of their son or daughter correctly. While your ex may not know everything that they need to initially, they'll likely do so in time. You shouldn't expect them to do everything just like you. Instead, they will find their own way of handling things. All that matters is that your baby appears to be happy, healthy and safe.

The best thing that you can if you share custody of your child is to gradually increase the amount of time that non-primary caretaker spends with them.

You may find that starting with an initial visitation of as little as 30 minutes a few times each week may work you in the beginning. You may want to tack on an additional 30 minutes each week until you ultimately feel comfortable letting your baby out of sight for more time. Sharing custody this way may allow your ex to gradually build their confidence in autonomously taking care of your child.

Overnight visits are crucial to helping a newborn and their parent form a bond. They can also provide the primary custodian mom or dad with sleep, something that they likely don't get when they're in full-time parenting mode. You will need to work out how to ensure that your child has an adequate milk supply during these more extended visits.

In some jurisdictions, courts avoid awarding noncustodial parents overnight visits until their son or daughter reaches 3-years-old. They hold off on doing this to ensure that they're developmentally prepared to handle being away from their primary caretaker for so long. Judges in other areas recognize how critical it is or a parent to spend time with their son or daughter from the get-go to solidify their bond.

A child custody attorney can advise you how California judges traditionally handle visitation and custody here in San Jose.

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