Illinois parents whose relationship has ended will need to consider how to handle child-related issues. This can encompass who has custody and what the visitation rights will be. The parting can be especially difficult if the child is an infant. Once custody is established, thinking about visitation with the infant and serving the child’s needs comes to the forefront.

There are fundamental ways to ensure the child is in a positive environment. Mistakes and missteps should be expected when there is a new baby. These do not need to be damaging to the child, but the parent should be prepared for them. If the parents are divorcing, it complicates matters. Understanding why a baby is crying and what will be helpful to care for the child’s needs in the moment is a process. This should be incorporated into visits. Initially, visits should be of short duration, but happen relatively often. A half-hour visit occurring between three and four days each week may be optimal. Overnight visits can help the parents bond with the child and give each sufficient time to learn about adequate childcare. The court will determine the feasibility of overnight stays and the child’s age will play a role.

A common concern with a newborn is breastfeeding. The mother may think about how to ensure the child gets the proper nutrition at regular intervals, but there could be other factors to think about like maintaining a routine and natural fears about being separated overnight. Pumping breastmilk will provide the other parent with what is needed to feed the baby. This could be a viable alternative for the other parent to have overnight stays. For mothers who are agreeable to replacing breastmilk with formula, this too could work.

Any divorce will be a trying time emotionally, mentally and financially. For people who have a newborn to think about, this is exacerbated. Addressing the variety of challenges that will arise with visitation rights can be a critical aspect of the process. To be fully protected, legal advice from an experienced family law firm may be essential.