Unfortunately, young mothers refusing to allow their child's father to be involved in their young child's life is a very common situation. Young mothers often feel that they need to protect the child and only a mother can provide appropriate care for an infant or young child. (There are also situation where new fathers are the primary parent to a newborn and they are concerned about letting the child see “mom”, but that situation is currently less frequent due to the importance of breastfeeding.) This is an unacceptable situation. Newborns and young children need to form relationships with both parents. If that is not happening, if is important for the excluded parent to seek help from a top family lawyer to make things right for the child and the parent.
The idea that one parent should parent a child, even a newborn, alone is not consistent with the current research in social science and child development. Even at a very young age, children benefit from having both parents actively involved in their lives. Most family court judges recognise this. One parent refusing to allow the other parent to have any contact with a young child is a situation where it is possible to get an emergency family court order.
It is very important for children to have frequent, meaningful contact with both parents. That means both parents should be involved in feeding, bathing, and other parenting tasks (not just playing), at minimum, several times a week. Due to young children's short memories and perception of time, frequency of contact is very important - more important than long periods of time. Although young age is not necessarily a reason why a child should not be spending overnights with both parents.
What is often best for a young child, even a newborn, is to allow that child to develop a secure attachment to both parents through having both parents actively and frequently involved in the child’s care. Denying a child contact with one parent, or exposing the child to a lot of conflict, especially at a young age, can lead to long term problems.
For all children, it is important to keep tensions down and avoid conflict down between parents, because conflict between parents is very harmful to the child. To accomplish that goal and to provide the best hope for a joint custody situation, it is best for parents to first try parenting mediation, with a parenting professional, before going to court. The parenting professional can help the parents understand the children's needs and help them work out a parenting plan that best suits the child's needs at each stage of development. If the other parent will never agree to mediation, it is still important to propose it because judges get angry at parents who refuse to try to work out things for the kids without a fight.
Before a parent goes to court, it is important for that parent to understand that judges base decisions only on what is in the child’s best interest. There are several factors that judges consider when deciding what is in a child’s best interest. To succeed in court, it is important for a parent to have evidence that what they want is in the child’s best interest. To better understand what evidence is, and why it is critical to have good evidence in family court, watch the video below.
You can learn more about the family court process, how to start a family court proceeding, and what to do at each step by listening to the Ontario Family Law Podcast episodes on the Family Court process.
It is also important for separated parents to understand the difference between different types of parenting arrangements and when each will work best for the child. That will help them come up with the best parenting plan for the child or, if they have to go to court, to know what types of orders the judge will be inclined to make. The video below explains the different types of custody and the different types of parenting schedules, and when each works best.
But, if a parent is not seeing a child at all, or is not having meaningful contact with a child, then that parent should see a family lawyer right away to know your options and how best to ensure the child has the best possible relationship with both parents. Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-4036, or using the contact form below. We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate).
You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a further explanation of child custody and parenting legal issues by downloading this $9.99 e-book for Kindle, Kobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version. But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a good family law lawyer.
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