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Mother wonders what is the right parenting plan for her 3-month-old

Your Question:
We have a newborn 3 months old and father wants to do week on week off due to not wanting to have to pay child support. His lawyer has told me that. Father is in great debit also. When I filed he only wanted 2 days a week and no weekends, but after he got the child support petition he changed to want half and half. I didn't agree to that and will not in court. I believe that child should no go without either parent for that long. I am a mother of four and he just became a dad for the first time. Now he has once again decided to have her during the day and states this would happen for now. There is no consistency or stability that way. I stated I would like to see two days a week that includes over night if he wants it and two weekends a month. Is that fair? We are in Delaware also. The father is a person that only thinks about himslef that is why we aren't together and he always comes first and alsways finding ways to suit himself. Me on the other hand always trys to make others happy and stable before myself. He has been sneaky and deceitful since this started but I filed withan agreement that we both watned this. HELP!!!! ALso do I need to get a lawyer.

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My Answer:

Thanks for writing.

I would suggest that you should have an attorney to help protect your interests during the first (of likely many) court hearings. You are at a severe disadvantage if he has an attorney and you don't.

Parents must look at parenting plans that are age-appropriate. In my opinion, a child under 12 months should not go more than 48 hours spending quality time with either parent. The first year is critical for developing strong bonds with the parent, and as you mentioned, consistency and stability are very important too.

I could see a parenting plan that starts with very, very frequent contact for the first year. For example, having the infant spending 3 to 4 hours daily with each parent, or at minimum having contact with both parents 4+ days per week.

If the parents are able to mirror bedtime routines, and would support a transfer of transitional and security objects (e.g., blanket(s), toy(s)), I don't think its necessarily traumatic for a very young child to have overnights in two homes. How many of us were put to bed by our grandparents when we were tiny? It certainly didn't break us.

So, I would encourage you to find a way to engage the father in discussing common bedtime routines... if he's a controller, then let him control some of those decisions-- so long as they're safe for the child and he's also willing to stick to them. Even things like using the same scented lotion (or burning the same scented candle in the room) could contribute to the baby's comfort.

Many folks new to the process don't contemplate that parenting plans can change as children grow. In mediation, or in court, you can propose a certain plan until the child turns 18 months, then a different plan through 3 years, then another plan. As the child grows, the child has greater object permanancy (i.e., knowing that mom doesn't just "disappear") for longer periods, and the parenting plan can reflect that.

Hope this helped somewhat. Above all, don't worry about what is "fair". Think about what is best for the child, which typically includes significant contact with both parents.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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