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Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

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Latest post Wed, Jul 28 2010 3:20 PM by Drew. 8 replies.
  • Fri, Jan 13 2006 5:58 AM

    • mumtobo
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    • Joined on Tue, Jan 10 2006
    • Posts 3

    Question [=?] Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    Does anyone have some examples and ideas of reasonable yet conservative visitation plan for an infant living with mother and visiting father who lives 900 miles away (both in California). I’ve been researching literally all day and I’ve found some guidelines for infants and young children but all assume that distance is not an issue. I’ve also found guidelines for older children, 5 and up, that do factor in distance. I just can’t seem to find examples or detailed guidelines for infants and very young children with the distance of parent homes factored in. I know that visitation should gradually increase with time and that the best interest of the child is most important. I just would like some specifics that would work and have worked in the past. I am very much striving to be reasonable, but I want my infant (1 month old) to have a strong sense of home. I believe in consistency and building a strong foundation in the most formative years. I want to avoid too much time away from primary care giver (me) meaning that I don’t want overnights until 2. I would like to create a plan that would allow ample time for dad without causing too much stress to my daughter, especially in the first two years. Yet I don’t want to sound unreasonable to the court. I’m thinking about something like this:

    0-9 months – visitation with father 2 alternating Sundays per month for 3 hours supervised by mother (I think it’s important to child development for child to see parents together even if it only for 3 hours.)

    9-18 months – visitation with father 2 alternating Sundays per month for 3 hours alone at agreed on location in my town

    18-24 months – visitation with father 2 alternating Sundays per month for 8 hours in my town

    2 – 3 years – visitation with father overnight alternating Saturdays starting at 12:00 noon to the following day (Sunday) at 12:00 noon. Mother would be informed of in town location.

    3 – 4 years – visitation with father from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon one time a month. In town location.

    5 – 6 visitation with father from Friday evening to Sunday evening 2 weekends per month (alternating) and 1 week in June and 1 week in August. Every other holiday. Travel to be by car with father to father’s home.

    6 - - visitation with father from Friday evening to Sunday evening 2 weekends per month (alternating) and 1 week in June, 1 week in July and 1 week in August. Every other holiday. Travel to be by car with father to father’s home.

    Then going to a more standard long distance visitation schedule after that.

    These are just some ideas that that I had come up with from my research today. Can anyone suggest, based on research or experience on the subject, other specific schedule ideas that have worked in a case like mine. Specifically, I am trying to find age specific visitation ideas and examples. Would overnights be better started at 3 than 2? What the best way to gradually increase visitation? Should I be ok with my child traveling before 5 years of age or after that? I personally don’t think that the child should be traveling alone on a plane until 12 or so? Any ideas on these things?

    I really do want to foster a good father-daughter relationship with my ex, after all I did want to marry him, but I don’t want to compromise my child’s sense of home, belonging, security, and well being. I know that there are some new thoughts about a child resiliency but I guess I’m a little old fashion. I’m lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom. I think day care should be avoided at all costs. If the child sees dad for weeks at a time, she will end up in day care for a significant amount of time because of his work schedule.

    Also, comments would be appreciated about where visits should occur. From my research I found many guidelines say that visitation should be in the home of the custodial parent. In my situation I don’t think that that would be appropriate. I live with my family now and they are still upset and disappointed that my ex got me pregnant and didn’t want to marry me. They see it as father abandoning his child not just me. We’ve been meeting at other locations for now but it’s been difficult. Should I just let the father visit in my home? By the way, he’s not paying child support yet and he was denying the baby throughout the pregnancy and even after delivery. I know that this has nothing to do with visitation rights but I thought I’d just let you know. I’m doing my best to be reasonable.

    FYI – I do have a lawyer (an expensive one) but he doesn’t seem to be helping with this sort of thing at all. It seems as though most lawyer take you money and check “reasonable visitation” and if no one knows better it’s finished and then you’re back in court in a few months only to pay more fees to the lawyer. Good thing I’m a type AA who wants to be prepared. I guess I’ve settled for knowing that he enforces what I want once I figure out what that should be. Maybe I should get a new lawyer…What to you think? Or maybe I don’t need one at all?

    Thank you for any help.
  • Fri, Jan 13 2006 7:59 AM In reply to

    re: Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    Where are you doing your research? I suspect you will find better answers if you focus your attention on parenting plans instead of visitation orders.


  • Fri, Jan 13 2006 10:56 AM In reply to

    • etindall8
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Dec 15 2005
    • TX
    • Posts 37

    re: Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    I have a SD who is 6 and lives 1200 miles away. DH and BM got divorced when SD was 2, so I have some experience and opinions about some of what you're talking about. These are just my opinions formed by what DH has gone through and what I've researched.

    I think the most important thing to remember is that your daughter is going to grow up not knowing what it's like to have intact parents, so what you perceive as stressful to you won't be for her because it's all she's ever known. Therefore, you should not think of your home as her only home. You seem to be thinking as your house as her place of foundation and stability, but the courts may not see it that way. Unless there are some other underlying things going on with the child's father, the court is going to look at his home with the same importance as your home.

    DH and BM's divorce decree never prevented any overnight visits and remember, SD was 2 at the time of the divorce. When BM denied an overnight visit when SD was 3, I did a TON of research into the subject and actually found that you shouldn't wait to start overnight visits. It's not unusual for very young babies to have overnights with a dad, especially when the child isn't nursing. If you truly want your daughter to have a normal relationship with her father, then you need to allow him the time to build that relationship and I'm not sure some of the controls you are wanting to introduce will help him build a relationship with his daughter.

    Why would you want supervised visitation? I'm not sure the child's development will be helped or hindered by seeing the two of you interact. You will do more good by always talking positively about the father in front of your daughter than you would trying to force a good in-person interaction. Why only 3 hours? If he lives 900 miles away, he deserves more than 3 hours of visitation at a time. He should be able to do the every day things you do. Feed her, bathe her, change a poopy diaper, put her down for a nap. A 3 hour visit feels like an uncle visiting or something, not a father.

    Another thing you should consider is the place of the visitation. You're wanting him to stay close and not do visitation at his house. There's nothing more unnatural than doing a visitation at a hotel room. BM had a problem "letting go" of SD and allowing her the opportunity to visit with her father in HIS house. She actually hid her when it was time for her first plane trip to our home. So that's now 2 contempt of court charges against her. BM didn't want SD to leave the city, she wanted the visits to happen in her town which meant getting a hotel room. Try putting yourself outside your situation and imagine only being able to see your dad at a hotel room. You don't know what his house looks like, you don't get to play with his dog, you don't get to see your own room, etc. Again, this goes to a child's ability to establish a solid relationship with a parent. The good thing is that kids are young and very flexible, so SD barely remembers the visits in hotel rooms and now has a ball at our house.

    The agreed location part is also a little suspect. It's my understanding that the law allows your EX to be able to do anything he wants with his daughter during his visitation time (as long as it's not illegal, abusive, or neglectful). This may not be the case with you guys, but with a lot of parents, anytime something says "agreed" it's a license for one parent to sabotage something by not agreeing just for the reason of not agreeing. You don't have to answer to him on what you do with your daughter, so why should he?

    Try not to make the times so restrictive. One thing I've read is that people's lives change and you want to have reasonable boundaries but also leave a lot of flexibility because who knows where each of you will be a year from now, 2 years from now, etc. Maybe a Friday overnight would work better for you/him. Don't box yourself into such a restrictive schedule.

    Until your daughter starts kindergarten, you should consider the possibility of visits during the week. That goes back to being flexible.

    Some of your other questions...

    I would start overnights earlier rather than later.
    Don't put in hard rules for increasing visitation. Try to remain flexible.
    Your child should be able to travel (by car) with her father anywhere and at any time, as long as he has the proper car seat.
    DH's decree says no traveling alone on planes until 12, but the decree was written right after 9/11 and I have found that 12 is VERY old to start traveling alone. Most people I know let their children fly alone much earlier (but ONLY on non-stop flights!).

    The only other non-standard thing in DH's decree was about summer visitation. The standard is 42 days. DH's decree says that until the summer after kindergarten, the summer visitation can not be longer than 14 consecutive days. So DH could still get his 42 days, but he would have to break it up into chunks so his daughter wouldn't be away from home longer than 14 consecutive days. SD was 6 the first summer she could spend the entire 42 days with us.

    I hope this information helps. I have a son who is getting ready to turn 1 year and I remember quite vividly how protective I was of him when he was first born. I didn't want any one breathing on him much less anything else. I know it's hard to think about visitation with your EX. Your body is a hormonal mess. I think that if your ex wants to come spend the day with her, then you should be open to that. The worst thing you can do is try to tell him how to be a father. Daddies will never do it like mommies and that's OK, that's what makes daddies (and mommies) so special. I know your family is mad, but do what's best for your daughter and let him in her life without so many rules and restrictions. The more you try to control him and his actions, the more you will drive him away.

    Good luck!!
  • Fri, Jan 13 2006 12:24 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    Has this baby been born yet and has paternity been established?

    Well, the father certainly does not have to agree to this. Personally, I think you are being way too conservative. There is no reason why you should push no overnights to past 1 year. If he going to pay child support he is going to want to see the child more than that, and personally if he disputes this, he can come up with his own plan and push for that. I think you need to be more reasonable.

    How is his family going to see the baby at all if you push for visits in your house/town only?

    Who was the one that moved? I assume he did? Or have you both always lived this far apart?

    He is travelling 900 miles to visit with an infant for only 3 hours?

    Understand that if he is the legal father, he technically has just as many rights as you do.

    If he is agreeing to provide all transportation, I don't see why you are limiting to visits in your house.

    I think you should give him more time. 3 hours every other sunday is hardly any time for him to get to know the child, and vice versa.

    also, I see nothing wrong with him taking the child for overnights starting at 1 year. Some women might agree even younger. If he flies, the baby can sit right on his lap.

    Realize that if he agrees to this without asking his own attorney you are lucky, for one I don't think this is fair for him at all and seems to give him the idea that you are in control at all times and can only visit under your terms.

    Just my thought.

  • Fri, Jan 13 2006 12:38 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    Another thing to consider is to put yourself in his shoes. I would always say that to my son's mother and she could care less as she was the CP and it would always stay that way. Well it is now 6 years later and I have been the CP for the last year. The shoe is on the other foot and she can't stand the way it fits. Had she ever thought I would be the CP I think she would have handled things A LOT DIFFERENTLY. She is now asking for the things I used to ask for, (more time, more flexibility, picking up our son from school as opposed to daycare) These were all issues I would bring up, but to no avail, this was her son and I should feel lucky to get the time I did have with him, this was her feelings about it as stated in a few letters she had sent to me during the time she was the custodial parent. Good luck and give the father some time, he will come around I'm sure once he gets some time alone with his daughter.
  • Sun, Jan 22 2006 1:51 PM In reply to

    • sallyh
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Sun, Jan 22 2006
    • Posts 1

    re: Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    I am in the same situation, and I have found very little research. parenting plans, and vistation help about long distance vistation with an infant.

    My situation: Married in CA in 2002, moved to Tennessee for husbands job with the NBA, had my daughter in September 2004, separated August 2005 and I moved back to CA. I had to sign over most of the marital assets and a parenting plan before getting permission to leave the state. Daughter was 11 months old with little bonding with her father due to his job and choices he made with his home time. Currently, I am a stay at home mom also. I live with my older sister and her husband since the separation. Father's visits are uncomfortable in their home for my family also (ill feelings of emotional abuse and affairs on his part) but they understood the need for them and so does the father. I have since hired a child centered lawyer and contesting the parenting plan (that was not signed by the judge yet (new law that allows it).

    You are very wise and a great mother to be so concerned. I made some visitation mistakes in the first few months and had to learn from signs of stress from my daughter. One overnight within 1 month of moving away from father my daughter (1year old) completely changed her behavior and it lasted about 3 weeks before she was back to herself: problems eating, sleeping, clinging, etc. The next visit was a day visit that he took her and it went just as bad for my daughter. The last two visits have been in her home with me (mother). The visits lasted all day with naps inbetween. During the last visit she had limited speech, refused to eat, and reverted to crawling during the visit. Remember this was in her own home, playing with her toys, and with me there. Everytime she said "mama" or got upset I went to her. The next day and for 4 days after my daughter would not let me pick her up or change her diaper without having a huge crying fit, she once again had eating problems, sleep problems etc. Psychologist said she was blaming me for putting her though it and she was concerned with affecting daughters attachment/trust with me. Father only comes into town once every 6 weeks so he is a stranger to her. Most long distance parents are going to be strangers to their infant/toddler. I have consulted her doctor, a social worker, and most recently a child psychologist to help.

    My next step with the visitation which was recommended by professionals (16 months):
    1. Shorter visits: Others that are not in our situation will not understand how you can have a parent travel and limit the time with the child, but that is all the child can handle if they are infrequent. I am going to try morning 1 1/2 hours then in the evening and give her a break inbetween.

    2. Away from home: Psychologist is concerned that my daughter will loose her sense of trust in her home with continued in home visitation. Now we are meeting at park or McDonalds.

    Suggestions for you from my experiences:
    1. Offer father more frequent visits and if he chooses to not see the baby then it is on him. 3 hours is more than enough for the baby to handle. Is the baby even awake for 3 hour time periods? Do not change the baby schedule to suit the visits.
    2. If there is not a strong bond with the father then I would at least in the legal paper work state overnights do not start until 5 years unless a bond has been established with the father.
    3. 9-18 months: needs to have mother with child during visits
    18-24 months: needs to be with mother if bond has not been established. Child can only hold onto an attachment for a few days
    4. Talk to your family about your child's needs and try to figure out a schedule that would work for visitations in the home. Home is the most comfortable place for the child, unless in my situation it is not working, but I would try it first.
    5. My attorney says we should keep the visitation part of the parenting plan as simple as possible. The only specific part of the parenting plan is holiday which we have every other year but the overall guidelines of the visits are still with Mom. I was like you and laid out a year to year schedule like the one you see online. If you want to know the wording in my parenting plan I would gladly share it with you.

    Other Suggestions:
    1. Have the father visit a child psychologist either with you or on his own. He has to understand where your child is developmentally and how his visits affect the baby. THIS IS KEY! Ignorance can cause a lot of problems and most first time fathers do not understand the development of children. They have this feeling that they are DADDY, without understanding that the child's feelings that go along with this title are not automatic.

    2. Web Camera: Both of you buy a web camera ($50 and free service through MSN messenger). It will not help with bonding for your daughter until she is much older but it will help the father and show your openness to his parenting. When the baby is older dad can read books etc.

    3. Online Journal: I started an online journal (blog) that is private only to invited people. I update it once a week with pictures and developments. It keeps him informed.

    4. Watch your child for reactions and be prepared to change visitations if they cause stress that lasts more than a couple of days.

    5. Get a new laywer NOW. I had to learn the hard way and the expensive way of the importance of having a laywer that is knowledgable about the needs of a child. I am $11,000 in debt and I dont even have signed paperwork yet!!!!

    I hope this helps. You and I are in a very tough situation. Number one is listen to your child to guidance once the baby is old enough to have a reaction. If you have any more questions or want to bounce ideas off someone in the same situation please feel free to ask.
  • Wed, Jul 28 2010 2:39 PM In reply to

    • owensmomma
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Wed, Jul 28 2010
    • FL
    • Posts 1

    re: Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    Hello, I am in the same situation, but just starting out.  I have a 9 month old and my soon-to-be ex-husband hasn't seen my son since he was 2 months old.  My ex now lives in Kentucky and I am still in do we come up with a parenting plan for this? 

  • Wed, Jul 28 2010 2:42 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 3 2000
    • CA
    • Posts 28,248

    This is a VERY old post

    You should start a new one so this is not overlooked.

  • Wed, Jul 28 2010 3:20 PM In reply to

    • Drew
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,431

    Re: Infant Long Distance Visitation Schedule

    Laymans take:

    Your views seem to be one sided--I fail to understand why Dad need have supervised visits or short visits or bring up his child your way--and much of what you post is "your way." .

    Last I heard this stuff was supposed to be more sex neutral--absent the lacting Mom issues and even that can be addressed with dry ice.

    Visitation should not be conditioned on paying CS--but I understand the connection in real world. .

    Is there a CS order in place and has Dad started to pay as ordered--if not--put your AA to work!

    If your lawyer is seasoned--keep him or her--even a super one will have problems trying to write emotional satisfactory detailed plan --courts don't do well with tiny details of orders that are overengineered.

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