How do possession schedules for children under three vary from older children?
The Texas Family Code has standard possession schedules for children over three, but many people have children under three years old. A very common question is: what will my possession schedule look like for my young child? The courts consider a number of factors when looking at what type of schedule is in a young child’s best interests. This means that families can tailor a schedule to fit the child’s developmental needs and changes and to fit with what works with this family. For example, if the child’s breastfeeding, that might limit the other parent’s possession with the child, particularly if it’s a child that doesn’t take a bottle. That’s not to say that the other parent won’t have meaningful possession of the child; even two to three hours several times a week will create that important bond between the parent and the child.
What are some things to remember for clients contemplating possession schedules for children under three?
When contemplating a possession schedule for children under three it’s important to take things one step at a time. What works for a three-month-old might not work for an 18-month-old. For example, when and if the child starts sleeping through the night, the possession schedule might change to allow for additional overnights building and stair steps that will fit with the child’s developmental changes over the years is key to a successful parenting plan. We can’t anticipate every issue that might come up, but we can try to tailor a possession schedule that will fit your family and focus on your child’s best interest. Having a plan to handle future disputes might help you avoid litigation down the road.
How can you prioritize your children during the process?
Put your child’s needs above your own. Depending on your relationship with the other parent, it might be helpful to spend some time together to familiarize yourselves with the child’s routine. For example, if one parent has historically been doing the bedtime routine, it might be nice for that other parent to come over and experience that bedtime routine that not only helps the other parent become familiar with what’s going on in the child’s life. But it would also make the primary parent feel more comfortable with what’s going on at the other parents’ house. My final piece of advice is that it’s important to find a team of professionals who can guide you through this process. Having a lawyer who understands the joys and difficulties of parenting a child under three could make all the difference in your case.
To learn more about possession schedules, contact Lerrin Reinecke at 214-373-7676.
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