chapter  20
22 Pages

An Attachment Theory Framework for Planning Infant and Toddler Visitation Arrangements in Never-Married, Separated, and Divorced Families

D ecisions about time-sharing or visitation schedules are a com-mon source of concern and conflict in never-married, sepa-rated, and divorced families with very young children. Frequently, conflicts revolve around the issue of overnight stays for the infant or toddler in the home of the father. Typically, it is the mother who is anxious and resistant to overnight plans, and the father who is insistent, fearful that his relationship with his child will suffer without overnights in the schedule. Such conflicts often are presented to court mediators and judges, who in turn struggle to balance their notions of what is "in the best interests" of the nonverbal child with judicial policies that favor increasing involvement of fathers in their children's lives. When parents and court personnel turn to the mental health profession for guidance in these cases, they are likely to receive conflicting advice (Goldstein, Freud, and Solnit, 1973; Hodges, 1986; Leiberman, 1993; Kelly and Lamb, 2000; Lamb and Kelly, 2001; Solomon and Biringen, 2001).