Can A Father Get Joint Custody Of A Newborn Baby?

Pittsburgh divorce lawyer Anna CiardiQuestion:

My wife and I are going through a divorce and she is pregnant. I want joint custody of our unborn child.

How old does the child have to be for me to seek joint custody? Is it possible for a father to have custody of a newborn child?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

You should be able to file for custody as soon as the child is born. In some jurisdictions it may be possible to have interim custody established with a paternity suit prior to the child actually being born, but the purpose of those actions primarily is, of course, to establish paternity and also to establish a child support obligation.

So, according to the limited information you list in your question, it might make more sense for you to wait until after the child is born and file a traditional custody action.

It is also possible to try and negotiate an agreement for custody prior to the birth, which could be filed with the court once the child is born.

In many jurisdictions in the not so distant past, there was a “tender years” presumption in the law that favored very young children spending the majority of their time with their mother. But that presumption has fallen out of favor in many jurisdictions.

Although, sometimes in practice, when mothers are breast feeding, this can slow down the time before which parties might eventually share more equal custodial time.

Read Related Article:

Will I Get Custody?

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer Anna M. Ciardi, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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3 Comments on "Can A Father Get Joint Custody Of A Newborn Baby?"

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Andy G.
2 years 10 months ago
Contriving to establish a newborn’s “domicile” for custody rights purposesThis question, and the current dispute between Sara McKenna and Bode Miller, raises an interesting point: assuming she has the funds and perhaps depending upon her nationality(yes), can a woman contrive to establish a convenient domicile for the child in the sense of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and municipal law? Until now I thought that Delvoye v. Lee (In re Delvoye) (Belgium & New Jersey) established a convincing rule, and perhaps it does. In the current tax environment (thinking of FATCA) it’s not… Read more »
2 years 11 months ago

6 years ago, in Colorado I was told that I had to wait until my 9 month old son was 30 months old..
At 30 months I was told that he is used to being with his mother now.
Sad, sick, sorry situation.
Please do all you can while you have a chance to get 50/50

2 years 11 months ago
SeparationI can only speak from what I’ve learnt about the Britsh system. You basically need to be the parent who physically has the children, as the court system will only allow a major change if you can prove that the other party is either physically hurting the children or a drug addict (although this doesn’t always mean certainty. Even if you are prepared to be reasonable the only course of action is remove the child yourself and then make up a list of allegations which make your ex – partner unfit to look after children. Look after the child properly,… Read more »