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.
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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.