A Mother’s Bill of Rights
Two hundred thirty years ago, in September 1789, Congress approved what would soon become the Bill of Rights. The ten Constitutional amendments guaranteed individual rights and further limited the power of the federal government.
Granted, a paternity action does not have quite the same gravitas. But to your family, a paternity action could be almost as important. Much like the Bill of Rights, these family court actions protect your child’s rights and set some important boundaries for parents.
Child Support Payments
Florida has a straightforward, albeit rather complex, formula which usually determines the monthly amount of financial support. Additionally, the state government has a collections apparatus which makes it rather easy to enforce these obligations. If modification is necessary, usually due to a job change, an attorney can usually amend the orders without going to court.
Child Health Insurance
Part of the child support obligation includes health insurance. In most cases, the father is legally required to add the child to his group health insurance plan. In other cases, the judge may require the father to reimburse the mother for health insurance premiums. On a related note, the father must also cover a fair share, usually 50-50, of any uninsured medical expenses.
Mother’s Medical Expense Reimbursement
The average vaginal delivery costs about $30,000, and a C-section may cost about $50,000. Sooner or later, the hospital demands payment for these expenses. A paternity order may include a provision which requires the mother and father to split the bill proportionately according to their income. Typically, hospital accountants will split the bill between the two parents once they see the court order. So, mothers are only financially responsible for their assigned portions.
Attorneys’ Fee Payment
In situations like this, cost should never be an obstacle for legal help. So, if the mother has a financial need, the father may be financially responsible for at least part of the paternity-related legal expenses. Many Maitland family law attorneys agree to defer billing in these cases.
Set Visitation Schedule
In many cases, ad hoc visitation by agreement works well. But in many other cases, the rules should be more concrete. That arrangement keeps everyone safe and prevents misunderstandings. Moreover, a set visitation schedule does not mean visitation by agreement is impossible. The court order is just a fallback.
The provisions take many forms. Sometimes, the judge forbids one-on-one contact between the father and the mother and/or child. That’s especially true if there are verified allegations of domestic abuse. In other situations, the judge orders supervised visitation or pickup and dropoff at a neutral location. So, the father does not learn the mother’s address.
Conflict arises even in the most well-oiled parenting timeshare arrangements. When these things happen, it is usually good for parents to work things out between themselves. But if that’s not possible, the judge is available to help resolve these disputes. But this option is only available if the court has legal jurisdiction over the family.
Complete Access to Medical Records
If the child falls ill, especially with a chronic illness, family history is an important diagnostic tool. Without the father’s family medical history, doctors only see part of this puzzle. If the mother files a paternity action, the picture becomes complete.
Do not overlook this last right. Even if the father is not much of a dad at the moment, a paternity action may help establish an emotional connection between father and child. Many times, paternity actions challenge fathers to step up to the plate and accept financial responsibility, as well as emotional responsibility, for their children.
Work with a Dedicated Lawyer
Mothers have important legal and financial rights which only a paternity action can uphold. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Maitland paternity attorney, contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A. Our main office is conveniently located on Maitland Avenue near Lake Faith.