Mothers’ rights in child custody do not automatically grant her care of a nursing infant. When determining custody, judges will look at a whole panel of factors, and whether or not the infant is breastfeeding is only one of the factors that will be taken into consideration.
What Texas Laws Say about Nursing Infants and Custody
What do Texas laws have to say about breastfeeding infants and custody issues? Not much. The laws are quite vague on the matter, allowing for discrepancy on the courts’ part.
The judge’s primary task will be to determine what’s in the best interests of the child and make custody arrangements that will best meet the child’s needs. Some of the factors the courts will look at include:
- the age, health and income of each parent;
- any history drug abuse or domestic violence;
- the ability of each parent to secure a healthy environment for the child;
- the relationship the baby has with each parent; and
- whether or not each parent is willing to foster the baby’s relationship with the other parent.
Age Is One of the Determining Factors in a Custody Case
The age of the child is a special consideration courts look at when determining custody. Texas Family Code Section 153.254 explains that “the court shall render an order appropriate under the circumstances for possession of a child less than three years of age.”
In other words, the law recognizes that what’s good for an infant/toddler might not necessarily be what’s best for them after the age of three. Therefore, in cases that involve infants, the courts often will make a custody order that covers the child until the age of three, then render an alternative order that will take effect on the child’s third birthday.
For instance, a court may determine that for the first three years, the mother’s rights in child custody should be as primary caregiver, and then convert to a more joint visitation arrangement after the child turns three.
It’s Hard to Determine the Outcome of Infant Custody Cases
At first glance, it may seem like the mother may have the upper hand in a custody battle, but this is just one of the misconceptions about child custody. It’s not unheard of for a judge to order the mother to cease breastfeeding (or at least resort to regular pumping) to allow the father more time with the child.
It’s a tough situation that can become a scary and bitter battle in court. Whether a dad or a mom, if you are having a dispute, and mothers’ rights in child custody combined with breastfeeding is a factor, you’ll need an extremely determined legal team to back you up and argue your case.
The attorney who argues that mothers’ rights in a child custody case might use research to show that breastfeeding is best for the child. (The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.)
On the other hand, the father’s counsel might combat with child psychology studies that show that bonding with both parents in the early stages of life is best for the child.
Call Warren & Migliaccio for Top-Notch Representation in Dallas
As you can see,: mothers’ and fathers’ rights in child custody are considered, but are not a given. To ensure you get the custody arrangement your child needs, speak to a lawyer in Dallas today. Contact our family law firm, Warren & Migliaccio, for a free, no-obligation consultation – 888-584-9614.