Our goal is always to protect your family dynamic first and foremost. We do not take a cookie-cutter approach to family law.
So many times when people hear the word “paternity” they think of those talk shows where the mother has no idea who the Father is; this is not the norm when we discuss paternity suits.
Paternity is a term used when two people had a child together but were not married. Under Florida laws, even though a Father is on a birth certificate he does not have rights to parental responsibility or visitation with the child. Moreover, child support can only be established once legal paternity is.
When an unmarried couple with a Minor Child(ren) parts ways this is the time a Paternity Suit should be filed. During a Paternity Suit the Court will officially establish legal paternity of the Father for the child(ren) and establish what is called a Parenting Plan. This document is what we like to tell our clients is “the co-parenting rule book”. This Parenting Plan will detail each parent’s rights and responsibilities relating to the Minor Child(ren), timesharing (visitation), school designations, how major decisions affecting the child get made, and the like. Moreover, the Court will further determine each parent’s child support obligation, who will pay for the child’s health insurance, as well as payment for uncovered expenses relating to medical, school, and other activities.
Every child deserves active contact and participation with a loving and caring parent; our job is to make sure this happens.
PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AND
These are two of the buzzwords of family cases that have minor children involved. It is the job of the Court, sometimes with the assistance of service providers, to determine parental responsibility and timesharing. Parental Responsibility and Timesharing are the new words for what people usually think of as “custody”. The Court no longer looks at the parent-child relationship in terms of “custody”.
Parental responsibility refers to the making of major decisions relating to the child’s life. Major decisions include, but are not limited to, decisions about the Minor Children’s education, healthcare, religious indoctrination, and other responsibilities unique to your family. Pursuant to Florida law, we start at joint or shared parental responsibility where both parents are required to discuss and agree to all of these major decisions. However, there are instances where this will not be possible. The Court can take into consideration the lengthy list of factors detailed in the statute to determine if shared parental responsibility is truly in the best interests of the child(ren).
Timesharing is what most parents think of as visitation. The Parenting Plan will contain a detailed schedule of when each parent spends time with the child(ren) during the school year, school breaks, holidays unique to the family, and even birthdays. This schedule will always take into consideration the needs and ability of the parents to attend to the child on these particular days and most certainly caters to the needs and schedule of the child.