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Overnight visits with Dad can make all the difference

If you are a dad with a divorce looming in your future, you may be dealing with many emotions. Foremost in your mind may be the concern that you will not receive a fair share of custody, especially if your child is an infant.

Unquestionably, the odds have been against fathers for generations, and understandably so. After all, the advice of many well-respected psychologists caused concerns that taking infants from their mothers may be dangerous. However, recent university studies may give hope to you and other fathers.

The remarkable bond of fatherhood

It is fairly well established that equal custody benefits children. More states are adopting shared parenting laws that direct family courts to assume both parents are fit and capable of seeking the best interests of the children. This is very different from past assumptions that a mother was more capable than a father of raising and caring for the children.

Nevertheless, even with the changing mindset, you may have a struggle winning equal custody of your very young child. In fact, many still adhere to the belief that separating an infant or toddler from its mother overnight may damage the relationship between mother and child. However, you may take comfort in the results of research data analyzed following a recent university study. The results of the study revealed the following:

  • Infants and toddlers of separated parents suffered no ill effects from overnight visits with their fathers.
  • On the contrary, children who spent the night with their fathers developed stronger bonds with both parents that lasted well into adulthood.
  • Allowing fathers to participate in the full cycle of daily childcare strengthens a father's parenting skills.
  • The more often the children stayed overnight with their fathers, the closer the father-child relationship tended to be.
  • This bond developed whether the mothers approved of or rejected the idea of shared parenting for the infants.
  • Mothers' relationships with their children also improved because mothers experienced less stress by not bearing the burden of being fulltime, single parents.

You may be hearing the argument that, when the child is older, you will have plenty of overnight visits. However, the study showed that overnight visits with fathers beginning later in childhood did not have the same positive bonding effect as those beginning in infancy.

Certainly, you look forward to a lifetime of memories with your child, and the thought of missing those precious first years may be painful. With the right legal assistance, you may be able to make a strong case for shared custody despite the young age of your child.

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