According to a recent poll cited in the New York Times, marriage is disappearing. More than 40 per cent of new mothers are unmarried. Many young adults find themselves drifting into parenthood unintentionally. They may be living together when the child is born, but more than half will split up before the child reaches age five. Misconceptions and misinformation about the legal relationship between unmarried parents and their children abounds. Many unmarried couples remain unaware of their status until the Department of Revenue gets involved in a child support issue or an injunction for domestic violence raises its ugly head.
All children of unmarried parents need a court-ordered Parenting Plan, regardless of whether the father’s name appears on the birth certificate. A paternity action is the proper vehicle for obtaining a Parenting Plan which meets the specific requirements of Florida Statute 61.13. It must include a timeshare schedule. In the vast majority of cases, shared parental responsibility by both father and mother is considered to be in the best interest of the children. However, in some circumstances, a single parent may obtain sole parental responsibility by demonstrating that sharing decision-making would be a detriment to the child’s welfare.
Unmarried parents should consult a qualified family law attorney for a consultation to determine their legal rights and responsibilities. At Rice & Rose, our experienced attorneys will assist you in crafting a parenting plan to meet your needs and satisfy the legal requirements for a paternity order. Please call us at 257-1222 for a consultation.
Posted April 20, 2015