Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Explains the Concept of Bonding

There are a few concepts that are important for parents to understand when they are involved in a child custody case. Bonding is one of these concepts, and it is important that you understand it because the term can be used in both a positive way and in a negative way in child custody cases. Bonding is a term that describes the strength and quality of an individual child’s attachment to his or her birth parent, or to a foster parent.

The bond between a parent and a child is a complex one, involving both physical and emotional components. The type and nature of touch, how the child interacts with the parent and vice versa, caregiving by the parent in response to the child’s needs, and the reaction of the child upon separation are just some of the many things that make up the parent-child bond. In some child custody cases, the parents, social workers, and other witnesses will be the sources of information regarding a child’s bond. In other cases, an expert on bonding will assess the bond between parent and child, as well as between the child and other adults, such as foster parents, and provide that information in a report and, if the case goes to trial, testify regarding their findings.

Bonding can work in a parent’s favor, or it can work against them, depending upon the situation. When a parent is working towards reunification with their child and they can show that they had a strong bond with the child prior to their child being removed from their care, that is helpful. It is even more helpful when that same parent is able to demonstrate that they have maintained or even strengthened their child’s bond with them through visitation and other forms of contact throughout the period of separation.

Sometimes, parents who are pursuing reunification with their children find themselves on the negative end of the use of the term “bonding”. One example of this is when a father, who has previously been uninvolved in his young child’s life, steps forward and asks for custody or visitation as the mother of the child faces removal of the child from her care. He may be given a chance to develop a bond with the child through visitation or even temporary custody, but bonds take time to develop, and if the mother’s reunification efforts go well, his “lack of bonding” prior to the child being removed from the mother’s care may prevent him from being given as much parenting time as he would like.

Bonding can also be used in a negative sense when foster families are involved, especially when parents are working towards reunification and the foster family is seeking to adopt. Social service agencies sometimes try to show that the child’s bond with their biological parent or parents has been diminished while at the same time a strong and lasting bond has been developed with the foster parents.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole understands the role of bonding in your child custody case. If you have questions about bonding or other topics related to child custody, please call us at (601) 573-7429, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

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Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Explains the Concept of Bonding
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Mississippi Child Custody Attorney discusses the concept of bonding in Mississippi family law matters.

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