In Colorado there is no presumption that the mother, even of an infant child, will be the better caregiver to the child over the father or other parent. So then why do so many mothers think that they can keep the child away from the father while the child is young? It could be that separation from a child is hard. Mothers develop deep bonds with their children and do not want to be apart from them. Another possible reason is that in the past, there was a presumption that infants need to spend much more time with their mother than the other parent.
Today, the court considers the best interests of the child when determining an appropriate parenting plan for that child. When the court determines what is in the best interests of the child, the court does not look at the gender of the parent that the child will be spending more time with. The presumption is that the child should have as much time as possible with each parent, consistent with child’s best interests. This analysis should start with consideration of an equal (50/50) parenting time schedule. Decision-making responsibility will also generally be shared equally between the parents. When a child is a new-born or nursing, parenting time will generally not start at 50/50, but may works up to that shared arrangement over time.
Develop A Parenting Plan
If you are a father or second parent of a young child, or a soon to be father or second parent, get a parenting plan in place as soon as possible after the child is born. If the child is breast feeding, the court is likely to begin with short frequent visits with the child that will increase in length and expand to overnights as time goes on. If this happens earlier, overnights can then likely occur sooner.
Without a court order, fathers and other parents do not have a way to enforce their rights to parenting time. Without a parenting plan on file with the courts, the father or other parent may be forced to rely on the whims of the mother for their parenting time.
Get Legal Help Today
If you are a father or second parent, we recommend getting a parenting plan in place as soon as you can so that you can start building your relationship with your child early on with consistent parenting time. Even if things are amicable with you and the child’s mother, the parenting plan will give you clear expectations for what parenting time will be and what expectations are going forward. Contact our family law attorneys today to get started.