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Father wants visitation on our 2 week old infant

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

i just have a few questions about visitation for the father, and can't find the laws about it in Washington State

 

Can he take him overnight when he is only 2 weeks old?

 

Can he feed him formula, even though I want him to have breast milk, but don't want to pump? Just want baby to be with me when he needs to feed?

 

If i don't trust that he will know what to do with our infant does that matter to a judge as far as visitation?

 

Thanks, New Mama

post #2 of 44

Has paternity been established?  I wouldn't let him take the baby out of your care until there is an order.  Do you feel comfortable having him come for short frequent visits in your home so that you can feed the baby?  You will probably need to pump or allow formula down the road but until ordered I would stick with short frequent visits in your home and document everything.  Someone better will give you information soon I'm sure but I didn't want to leave you thinking you need to hand over a two week old.

post #3 of 44

Congratulations on your new baby!

In my opinion, the best thing to do is to get custody and child support squared away as quickly as possible. Until he's established paternity, he has no legal right to take the baby (though I would argue that unless he's dangerous, he has an ethical right). Was he with you for the birth? If he was, he may have signed the birth certificate. That's the first step. From there, getting a visitation schedule requires filing a motion in court-- this typically also includes child support orders.

Typically, judges will not order overnights for a newborn (that usually starts between 2 - 3 years). Short frequent visits are usually preferred for babies.

What kind of guy is he? Is he abusive, an addict, dangerous, or somebody that you really want to keep out of your life for legitimate reasons? If so, he technically has no legal right to the baby. If you don't want child support from him, you can wait for him to file for visitation, and if he never does it, he's basically got no rights to the child.

On the other hand, if he's basically a decent human being, I would certainly encourage you to help him build a relationship with the baby. Even if you two don't get along, he may still be a pretty good father, and he deserves a chance at a relationship with the baby. I would encourage you to invite him over for short frequent visits (say, two hours twice a week?). If you can do it at your house, fantastic. You can help him learn how to care for the baby, and it would give you some time to read a book, take a shower, take a nap, get the laundry done, whatever. And when you do go before a judge for custody, it will look a whole lot better if you helped foster that relationship (again, barring abuse, substance abuse, etc). And if you can get a cordial coparenting relationship going (again, barring abuse) it will make everyone's life, including the baby's, a whole lot better in the long run.

I would also try hard to explain to the baby's father why it's so important to breastfeed. Ultimately, you will probably have to compromise with pumping, though you may very well be able to avoid it for at least the first six months.

 

post #4 of 44
Thread Starter 

Paternity results should be in today/tomorrow.

 

He wants to visit our son, but doesn't want to visit at my house with me there. We don't get along and he doesn't feel it necessary for me to watch over him. He is a genuine guy, I just don't want my newborn with someone who as little to no experience.

 

After results come in we will start our court process, but the only way he will visit his son is if I am not there. If I don't allow him to take him will that be a mark against me in court?

 

Thanks, New Mama

post #5 of 44
Thread Starter 

Does he have rights even though he isn't on the birth certificate and an affidavit hasn't been signed? Just if the test says yes.

 

I just don't want any bad marks against me in court that he could use, saying I with holding his son.

 

New Mama

post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by babybottom View Post

Paternity results should be in today/tomorrow.

 

He wants to visit our son, but doesn't want to visit at my house with me there. We don't get along and he doesn't feel it necessary for me to watch over him. He is a genuine guy, I just don't want my newborn with someone who as little to no experience.

 

After results come in we will start our court process, but the only way he will visit his son is if I am not there. If I don't allow him to take him will that be a mark against me in court?

 

Thanks, New Mama


As for little to no experience, most new parents have little to no experience. It's the name of the game, and the only way to learn is by doing. That's not going to hold up in court as a reason not to allow access. Breastfeeding may allow you to get an order that requires short visits while you are available to feed, but that will only work until Breasfeeding is well established (IF it works - some judges could care less about breastfeeding). Think of how long you think that will take (6 weeks sounds reasonable), and then tell the judge that. If you are being very reasonable, and thinking realistically, and don't appear to be just limiting dad's access, you are more likely to get what you want.

 

Is there a specific place that he wants visitation to take place (ie, his house)? If he wants visitation to take place somewhere inappropriate then that may count against him, but from what you've posted he doesn't sound dangerous, sounds like he wants a relationship with his son, and just doesn't want to do it all on your terms - which honestly sounds very reasonable. How is he supposed to bond with the baby if you are there to feed/comfort/handle all baby things?

 

Would you be more comfortable proposing a series of short visits with you there, and then allowing him to take the baby with him for longer and longer periods of time? For example, 3 2hour visits in your home. During those 3 visits you will show him how to hold baby, change his diaper, bathe him, etc, and then afterwards allow him to take the baby outside your home for 2 hours 3-4 times, and then gradually increase the amount of time baby spends with him?

 

post #7 of 44
Thread Starter 

He also lives 2 hours away, but his girlfriend lives in my town, so that is where he would take our son. He doesn't want to spend time with me there at all, so the short visits with me there isn't what he wants. But if I say sorry that's the way it is or you don't get to see him, will that be held against me?

 

If the only way he will visit his son is by him coming to pick him up for a couple hours at a time, will the court say that was reasonable?

 

Thanks, New Mama

post #8 of 44

I don't know your back story and the reasons why you two don't get along -- and I'm sure they're perfectly legitimate reasons, I'm not doubting that. But if you have the option of building up a functional coparenting relationship, it will make your life easier in the long run.

Maybe it would help if you sent him an email suggesting a timeline -- a couple of visits at your house where you show him the ropes, then he takes the baby for short (say, two hour) visits at his girlfriend's house. Would it work if you were really polite and positive and stressed that you wanted to do what was best for the baby?

The baby definitely shouldn't get any formula at all until breastfeeding is well established. I think offering to pump milk for longer visits, as the baby gets older, is a very reasonable compromise.

Keep track of all correspondence -- you want to show that you are giving him an opportunity to build that relationship with his child.

post #9 of 44

Do you know where the girlfriend lives? If so, then I think it's reasonable to let him take the baby for a couple hours between feedings. Esp if he can agree to bring him back if he shows signs of being hungry. If you don't know where she lives and he won't allow you to bring the baby, then I don't know that a judge would look down on that. Especially as you're offering him time with the baby at your house. But if you're totally sure he's a good guy and just wants time with his son, then I think I would trust him and show good faith. The judge WILL look upon that favorably, and your ex might calm down about you. Plus, then you get two hours to shower and eat! I know it feels weird to hand your baby over and see him go somewhere else, but you might appreciate the time alone with your hands free.

post #10 of 44

 


Im shocked anyone thinks its reasonable that a 2 week old be separated from the mother.  Ive never met a baby that young who could go that long between feedings.  I would send an email saying that he is welcome to visit the baby in your home 3 times a week for an hour and then if that goes well then at six weeks he can have the baby out of your home for  an hour 3 times a week progressing to 2 hour visits when the baby is twelve weeks.  You will need to be pumping or offering formula before the visits get longer.  It's still too early for pumping and not good to supplement if you mean to only breast feed.  Just because he's more interested in his own comfort (baby without you) than his childs need to nurse on demand at such a young age doesn't mean you are being unreasonable to say no.  You should really find out what's standard in your area because visits and overnights for young infants can vary wildly.  Also put in your note that he will need to have a properly installed carseat before he can take the baby anywhere.  


Edited by PoppyMama - 1/18/12 at 2:11pm
post #11 of 44

Quite honestly I think you would do nothing but make yourself look bad if you refuse to allow access to the baby, and by refusing to pump. Your baby has a right to have a relationship with his father, even if you and he can't stand the sight of each other.

 

 

post #12 of 44

It is NOT reasonable for a 2 week old baby to be separated from his mother. After DS was born, I was upset when I felt like other family members were not letting me hold him enough. (It wasn't due to any bad intentions on the part of others, they were just excited to hold him too.)

 

 

I agree that it is best to keep things amicable with the father, but I hope this can be done without separation.

post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post

 


Im shocked anyone thinks its reasonable that a 2 week old be separated from the mother.  Ive 



The other side of the coin is that it is shocking to think a father should be kept from his child!

post #14 of 44


Especially when he's clearly showing interest in the baby.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hillymum View Post



The other side of the coin is that it is shocking to think a father should be kept from his child!



 

post #15 of 44

His showing interest and desire to see the baby does not trump the babies need to fed on demand.  We aren't talking about a 4 month old even this is a newborn.  How many partnered mothers had a partner take their baby away from their home for 2 hours.  It's ridiculous.  If the father really wanted to see the baby and was putting the babies needs first he would suck it up and go visit the baby at the mothers house, as she has offered.

post #16 of 44

Here are some useful links.

 

http://www.lawhelp.org/documents/1887413601EN.pdf?stateabbrev=/WA/

 

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=26.09

(the parenting plan bits are in the middle, starting at 181)

post #17 of 44

2 weeks is really early to pump and unlikely to do much other than cause misery to mom.  In a couple of weeks it would be reasonable to start pumping so that the baby can learn the.the bottle but 2 weeks is too young.

post #18 of 44

No I get that but we're only getting part of the story.  Is he being vindictive or is there a good reason he doesn't want her around?  No she should not have to give the baby over while she's nursing on demand.  However two people made this baby and two people want to be part of the babies life. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post

His showing interest and desire to see the baby does not trump the babies need to fed on demand.  We aren't talking about a 4 month old even this is a newborn.  How many partnered mothers had a partner take their baby away from their home for 2 hours.  It's ridiculous.  If the father really wanted to see the baby and was putting the babies needs first he would suck it up and go visit the baby at the mothers house, as she has offered.



 

post #19 of 44

Is there a mutual friend or maybe a grandparent that could be there for the visits and you can stay in the bedroom unless you need to feed the baby?

post #20 of 44

This is for Yakima County...not sure if it applies to your area

 

http://www.lawhelp.org/documents/1887413601EN.pdf?stateabbrev=/WA/

Parentage and Parenting Plans for Unmarried Parents in Washington

Residential Schedule Guidelines Used in Yakima County Superior Court When Parents Get Along and There is No Need for Restrictions on Either Parent
July 2011

INFANTS (Birth to 18 Months)
Birth to 6 Months
RECOMMENDATION: two hours, at least twice per week
A baby must have consistent physical care and sensitive, cooperative interaction between the infant and caregiver. The pattern of access shouldn’t interrupt the ability of the parents to provide smooth child care routines. Visitation should happen often enough to help the infant and parent bond. Daily contact of a few hours in the primary residence of the infant is ideal, with both parents sharing in feeding, bathing, changing, and otherwise caring for and playing with the infant.

It’s best if both parents are committed to the infant developing a good relationship with both parents. Cooperation is important at any age, but it’s the most important factor in designing a plan for infants. When parents cannot restrain themselves from fighting or arguing in from of the infant, visitation should be somewhere besides the residential home. Special family circumstances may require that visitation be in a protected setting or the office of a mental health professional.
During this stage of infancy, frequent and predictable contact with the infant is best. Unless circumstances allow several contacts each week, time with the infant away from the residential parent should be limited to one or two hours at a time.

 

6 to 18 Months
RECOMMENDATION: Two hours, twice per week and four hours, once per week
The major issue at this age is the forming of secure attachments. The most important features of care giving are stability and responsiveness. Young children can quickly lose feelings of attachment to people they do not see often. Like with younger infants, the more frequent and stable the visitation is, the longer each visit can be. If visits are less than once or twice a week, visits shouldn’t be more than three hours at a time. Children this age need routine contact with familiar people. Overnights away from the primary caregiver should be discouraged unless the instability for the child is outweighed by other factors.

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