Fatherhood’s Learning Curve: Should Mom have more custody when kids are little?

I wonder what goes through the mind of a Mother of an infant/toddler when Dad takes the kid for one of his first weekends after their separation.

Does she breathe a sigh of relief after waving goodbye and think about having some free time? Maybe take an afternoon in Newport Beach? Or does she imagine her child in free fall on Dad’s back without a parachute over Yorba Linda? 

Is the difference between newbie parents this: “Mom has all the insight & Dad has all the thumbs.” 

Sometimes the Mom of a young child is reluctant to jump right into a 50/50 custody plan with a Father that they don’t generally trust or think is a very good influence at the moment. Her reticence is often compounded by the resentments & discord sewn near the end of the marriage.

A Mediator doesn’t take sides. Advocate on behalf of the kids always. But take sides between parents, no. A Mediator helps parent’s practice acceptance and make graceful transitions. So in this scenario, the question is; Should Mom have more custody when kids are little, say birth-3 years old?

Before we work through this issue from a mediation perspective, it’s helpful to know what the Orange County Courts Parenting Plan guidelines are! You can jump to the OCCourts Guidelines here. For this article, pay particular attention to Part III; Schedules of Contact, Infancy to 3 Years Old.

Give it a read, then jump back to complete this article. Take your time…I’ll wait here.

_______ Waiting…fingers tapping _____

Great! You’re back.. So what did you learn? Simply stated, that infants need separation time from either parent to be small in order to protect them from anxiety. So probably the best schedule to follow is one that has a lot of custody shuffling going on between Mom & Dad!

Your ability to create such a coordinated & cooperative entirely depends on the quality of the parenting relationship you and your ex have.

Through Family Matters brand of Mediation, we follow a few guidelines when helping separating parents establish custody;

  1. Make Graceful Transitions
  2. Establish Communication & Cooperation, especially in the early months of shared custody.
  3. Establish a Ramp-Up Custody Schedule based on Father’s adjustment to single parenting

More to follow, check back!