Emotional and Financial Issues in Paternity Matters
Not long ago, society stigmatized the handful of children who were born out of wedlock. Today, such births are a common event. Since 1990, the out-of-wedlock birth rate has almost doubled, to over 40 percent. The social stigma is gone, but the complicated emotional and financial issues that these births involve have not gotten any easier. If anything, these issues are much more thorny today than they were in 1990.
Raising children as a single parent is hard enough. A Jupiter paternity attorney makes the process easier. A lawyer obtains clear, enforceable orders that set concrete emotional and financial obligations. These specific orders take some of the uncertainty out of a very uncertain situation. Furthermore, as your family changes, a Jupiter family law attorney can modify these orders as needed.
If the parents weren’t married, the children probably never had opportunities to develop emotional bonds with both parents. Sometimes, that’s a good thing, especially if the absentee parent was physically or otherwise abusive. Usually, however, it’s not a good thing. So, an attorney must take special care when presenting a parenting time plan to a judge.
Briefly, Florida has joined most other states and enacted a co-parenting law. As a result, in most cases, the law expects both parents to meaningfully contribute to the child-rearing process. The old days, when children “lived with” one parent and “visited” the other one, are over.
In this new legal environment, a traditional every other weekend and every other holiday parenting time division often still works well. Some alternatives might be even better. These alternatives include:
- Empty Nest: In the aforementioned traditional plan, the children switch houses as visitation plans alternate. In the empty nest arrangement, the children stay in the same place and the parents swap addresses. This setup’s consistency usually benefits children, but it’s obviously only workable in some cases.
- Block Scheduling: This non-traditional arrangement is also very consistent for the children. They spend a week or two with Partent A, followed by the same amount of time with Parent B. Except for some adjustments around Christmas and other major holidays, the same schedule is in effect all year long. Once again, this arrangement only works in some situations.
- Extended Weekend: In contrast to the first two, this nontraditional plan works for almost all families. If weekends begin on Thursday night and end on Monday night, the timeshare division is much closer to 50-50. Small adjustments over time lead to major changes.
The factors are the same in all visitation plans. These factors include the parents’ preferences, the child’s preferences, which parent has been the primary caregiver in the past, any parental disabilities, like a physical or emotional disability, and any prior abusive behavior.
Financial Support Obligations
FSOs in a paternity case aren’t nearly as complex as parenting time divisions. That’s especially true since there’s no property to divide and no possibility of spousal support, at least in most cases.
The state’s child support formula is presumptively reasonable in most cases. Since Florida is an income share state, the child support formula takes a number of factors into account, such as the number of children, the income of both parents, any special needs, and the division of overnight visits.
If the formula amount is inappropriate or unworkable, the judge has discretion to set another amount, based on the aforementioned emotional and financial factors.
Work With a Compassionate Palm Beach County Lawyer
Divorce and related matters almost always involve financial and emotional issues. For a free consultation with an experienced Jupiter family law attorney, contact Caroline Olson, P.A. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.