Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
Teenage pregnancies or unwanted pregnancies seem to be a common topic in American culture. From Sarah Palin’s daughter to Jamie Lynn Spears who was 16 and pregnant, and to your own child possibly knowing someone in school that is pregnant. There are options available, but knowing them is half the battle.
While we would like to say that marriage is an answer, for many it is not the right option at the right time. Florida recognizes the right to child support, so the father is not off the hook for support simply for not wanting to be part of the child or mother’s life.
In order for a father to be determined responsible, at least financially for the child, a paternity test will be required if the father does not admit paternity upon the filing of a Petition to Establish Paternity. Since child support is based on the income of the parents, and sometimes these parents are in school, the court can impute income to one or both parties.
Adoption is also a wonderful alternative because it provides a home for the child with a family that wants to and can take care of the child. The movie “Juno” shed light on the topic of adoption for teen moms and showed how families are often desperate to adopt a child because they can provide for the child emotionally and financially in ways that the birth mother and father may not be able to. If both the mother and father are willing, they can voluntarily terminate parental rights for the benefit of the child being adopted free and clear by the proper family.
In looking into your options, it is good to get all of the facts from an experienced family law attorney.