One step for most parents getting a divorce in Arizona is working out a schedule for custody and visitation. If their child is an infant, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind.
Parents who are the main caregiver may hesitate to hand the child over to the other parent even for short visits. The custodial parent may worry that the other parent will not know what the child’s cries mean or have the same instinctive sense of how to care for the child. However, the other parent is most likely capable of learning even if parenting styles are different. With an infant, the priority is for the noncustodial parent to have the opportunity to bond with the child, and as little as half an hour several times a week may be enough for this. Overnights can be stressful for the main caregiver, but many courts do not order them until the child is older anyway.
However, the main caregiver may have concerns about longer visits even if they are not overnight. Nursing mothers may need to pump, and this can present challenges if they are struggling to do so. Parents may also need to discuss using formula. The main caregiver can talk to the other parent about the child’s schedule for sleep and food.
The visitation schedule is also one factor that will be used in determining how much child support is paid. Usually, the noncustodial parent pays this to the custodial parent. Other factors used to determine this amount include the income of parents, how many other children they are supporting and the costs of daycare and health care. Over time, both this and the custody schedule may need modification as the child gets older, has changing needs and is able to spend more time away from home.