Age-Based Considerations: Establishing a Contact Schedule for Children

1.  Familiarity and consistency are crucial for infants and babies to age 18 months. 

An Orange County family attorney is aware that contacts for younger children should be shorter and more frequent than for older children.  As much as possible, ensure the environments at the parent’s homes are as identical as possible.  This includes duplicating the rooms and using the same detergents and fabric softeners.  When neither of the parents can be with the child, the same caretaker should be used if at all possible.  Try to avoid subjecting the child to frequent environmental changes or leaving the child with unfamiliar caretakers.  The same schedules for feeding, bathing, naps and bedtime should be maintained.  Depending on the frequency and amount of contact between the child and parent, as well as the duplication of environment and schedules, overnight visits may be appropriate.

2.  Continuity and the same consideration infants receive are necessary for toddlers 18 months to 3 years old. 

Bedtime, activity and eating routines need to be the same for children in this age group.  The same toilet training methods should be used.  Because structure is extremely important, it needs to be the same in both homes.

3.  To prevent separation anxiety, preschoolers age 3 to 5 should experience predictability and receive frequent assurance they will see the other parent. 

An Orange County family attorney knows that having both parents maintain a calendar that is highlighted with the days spent in each parent’s home will provide a reference point for the child.  If changes are made they should be minimal.  Children this age also need to continue the previous considerations for infants and toddlers.  A child this age might be able to handle adding two night weekends to the midweek contacts.  He or she may also be fine spending one-week blocks of time during school vacations or in the summer.

If you are going through a divorce and would like to discuss child custody considerations with an experienced and competent Orange County family attorney, please contact Bethanie Fanti by calling 714-505-3108. 

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