Through the collective work of a Massachusetts Task Force of judges, lawyers, probation officers and mental health professionals, a Model Parenting Plan has been created combining the latest research on the needs of children with the experience of professionals who have worked extensively with children and families going through divorce and separation.
The Massachusetts Model Parenting Plans focus primarily on children's needs. The plans are designed to be educational, informational and practical tools for parents who face important decisions relative to the care of their children.
In designing a plan in the best interest of your child you should take into consideration the following factors:
1. Level of tension or conflict between parents
2. Parenting skills already in place
3. Child's physical and emotional health
4. Child's temperament and adaptability to change
5. Child's developmental age and abilities
6. Child's daily schedule
7. Availability of each parent
8. Location of both parents
9. Parent's ability and willingness to learn basic care giving skills
10. Sibling groups
11. Close caretaking relationships
Every case is unique and every child and parent is unique. The parenting plan options contained in these informational sheets are intended to provide guidance only to parents in developing a parenting plan for their family. The suggestions may not fit the needs of every family. These plans are not intended for parents with mental illness affecting parenting functioning, parents with untreated substance abuse difficulties or parents where domestic violence is a concern.
Birth to 12 Months
This is a busy and important time. Infants are totally dependent on the adults around them while they touch, listen, and observe the world. By 12 months your child explores his/her environment, says a few words, and has a grasp of routine.
Infants know people around them when they are within sight, but "out of sight is out of mind." At this age, more frequent contacts, even if brief, help infants build a close relationship with both parents. Parenting time for the parent who is not the major caregiver needs to be in predictable patterns and, if possible, in the same location. Infants learn to attach to parents and others through consistent, loving responses such as holding, playing, feeding, soothing, talking gently and lovingly, stimulating, and creating bedtime and bath time routines. It is important at this age to maintain sleep, feeding, and waking cycles. It is important to consider the needs and routines of the breast-feeding infant and balance the infant's need to nurse with the infant's need to bond with the other parent.
Involvement Necessary to Form and Maintain Close Relationship with a Child:
10 - 12 parenting times [three times weekly] per month. Plans will vary depending on previous relationship and time spent with child.
SUCCESSFUL PLANS COULD INCLUDE:
1. Three time periods of 2 - 3 hours during the week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday)
2. Two weekday contacts of 2 - 3 hours and one weekend contact of 4 - 8 hours
3. Two weekday contacts of 3 - 4 hours and one longer weekend contact, including anovernight if that parent has previously cared for the child overnight
Communication between parents is essential for infants. Parents need to let the other parent know about things like: Sleeping and naps, feeding and any new foods, changes in behavior, special games or toys, illness or fever, any new adults in the infant's life and infant's life and any new skills emerging. This can be done using notes, email or phone.
Going through a Massachusetts divorce or paternity action is never easy especially when children are involved. Putting the needs of the children at the forefront should be of the highest priority.
Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation to discuss the needs of children and how to craft a parenting plan unique to you and your childs needs.