Any case in which the partners have never been married but have had children together is called a Paternity case. Under Florida divorce law, Paternity cases are treated in much the same way as regular case. This means child support plans and timesharing schedules are still established. However, Paternity cases have a few unique characteristics.
1) One or both of the parents’ identities may be in question. Usually, this can be proven through a simple DNA test.
2) If a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is assumed to be the legal custodian of the child. This can be disputed, however, particularly if the mother is deemed unable or unfit to raise a child.
3) The biological father may not be the man who fills the father role. This, as well, can be disputed. A man can file for legal fatherhood, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.
These issues aside, the separation process in a Paternity case works about the same way that a normal divorce does. The parents will establish time-sharing and child-support plans and decide who pays the case’s fees.
If both parents are registered as the child’s legal guardians, the Paternity case’s parenting plan works just like a regular divorce’s. It will consist of time-sharing and parental responsibility. Normally, both parents are entitled to equal time with the child, and are expected to take an active role in the child’s development. Both parents are involved in making major decisions for the child, such as with education and extracurriculars.
Child support works as it normally would. It is determined by each parent’s net income and time spent with the child. Child support is a long-term payment plan, often paid until the child becomes a legal adult. Rarely is one partner expected to pay the full cost of raising a child. Usually, both are supposed to contribute about the same percentage of their income.