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Are frequent overnight visits better for infants?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2016 | Child Custody |

Divorcing parents will always have a number of issues to address when working out a parenting agreement. Making matters more difficult is the fact that a child’s needs will change drastically as he or she grows, so determining the child’s best interests can be complicated. And this could be especially true when working out custody arrangements for an infant.

It is not unusual for both parents to want to spend time with their baby. It is natural for a parent to want to care for and bond with an infant. So perhaps one or both parents might believe that the best and fairest arrangement involves the baby having frequent overnight visits with the non-residential parent.

On the surface, this may seem like the best idea. It would allow the non-residential parent plenty of visitation and could give the custodial parent the opportunity for some much-needed rest.

But what about the infant? Well, according to research conducted by the University of Virginia, infants who experience frequent overnight visits with their non-residential parents were significantly more likely to develop attachment security issues. These results seem to support the so-called “attachment theory.”

Basically, the attachment theory maintains that it is psychologically critical for an infant to establish a bond with one primary caregiver, which is typically the mother. This bond is cultivated by the infant staying in consistent proximity to the caregiver. So, frequent nights away from the primary caregiver may cause the child to demonstrate behavioral problems later in his or her life.

So parents may wish to consider the attachment theory when making visitation arrangements for their baby. But the good news is that as the child ages, he or she will typically be able to spend more time with the non-residential parent.

Child custody agreements can prove difficult to get just right, and they will likely need changing as time goes on. A Texas family law attorney may be able to help make a parenting plan that accommodates these changes. And if you wish to change your current custody agreement, the attorney could work to have that done as well.