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Child custody: Infants and toddlers need sleepovers with dads

Any divorced parent in Massachusetts will likely know how difficult it is to make sure all decisions are in the best interests of the child -- especially if the child is an infant or a toddler. When parents negotiate child custody and parenting time, it would only be natural for a mother to think it would not be in best interest of the child to have overnight visits with the father at such a young age. She might fear such visits might jeopardize the mother-child relationship.

However, a report of a new study by psychologists indicates that children of all ages benefit from having equal amounts of time and sleepovers at the homes of each parent. The lead author of the research says the study indicates that frequent overnights with the father improved the mother-child relationship rather than harm it. Furthermore, it was found that children who enjoyed high-quality relationships with both parents when they were babies carried those relationships through into adulthood.

The author said, like married fathers, divorced fathers need hands-on experience of day-to-day and overnight care of small children, which can only be provided by sleepovers from a very young age. Establishing this bond during infancy can teach fathers valuable parenting skills. Researchers say equal parenting time also has a positive effect on the general well-being and health of young children.

Negotiating matters related to child custody and visitation or parenting time need not be a stressful experience because help is available. With the support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney in Massachusetts, negotiations can be facilitated. A lawyer may have additional resources such as mediators and child specialists to provide assistance with establishing a parenting plan that will be in the best interests if the child.

Source: sciencedaily.com, "Overnights at dad's home benefit divorced mothers, fathers and their babies", Accessed on May 19, 2017

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