Can I Create A Parenting Plan Before My Child Is Born?
Yes, it is possible to draft a timesharing agreement with the court before your child is born. If you or your spouse is pregnant and you have begun the divorce process, this could be the ideal way for you to begin your co-parenting relationship.
Establishing a parenting plan and child support order for a fetus can be more complicated than establishing one for an existing child. Florida law does not recognize a fetus as a child. Once the baby is born, the laws surrounding a child’s rights and the establishment of child support and custody orders apply.
If you do go through the divorce process while you or your spouse are pregnant, mention the pregnancy in your divorce paperwork. Do not try to hide it; this will only make the divorce more complicated during the remainder of the pregnancy and after the child’s birth.
Establishing Paternity for an Unborn Child
When a child is born to a married mother, the mother’s husband is the child’s legal father. This is true regardless of whether the child is biologically his.
If the child is not biologically related to the husband and he does not want to be the child’s legal father, the mother or the child’s alleged true father can take steps to establish the child’s paternity. The easiest way to do this is to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity. In this situation, the mother’s husband must disestablish his paternity for the child, which terminates all of his parental rights.
Establishing a Parenting Plan After Birth
When paternity is not an issue, the couple could can create a parenting plan to be followed after birth or wait until the baby is born to work out that portion of their divorce settlement. When creating a parenting plan, the court prioritizes the child’s best interest. When the child is a newborn, challenges that can arise include:
- Scheduling and attending doctor appointments;
- Keeping the child primarily with his or her mother if the mother chooses to breastfeed. The mother may choose to pump milk and send it to the father during his time with the baby;
- Daily communication between the parents regarding feeding and sleeping schedules;
- Determining whether the child will have overnight visits with the father once he or she is weaned or if he or she can drink from a bottle; and
- Scheduling childcare.
Although babies cannot form memories yet, they can suffer from being exposed to conflict and not being kept on a predictable schedule. Parents of infants should prioritize communication and consistency.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Family Lawyer
You can get divorced while you are pregnant, but it is not always easy. For some couples, the easiest course of action is to wait until the baby is born to finalize their divorce. To discuss your unique situation in greater detail, schedule a legal consultation with one of the experienced Tampa divorce lawyers at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Our team can provide you with the legal support you need to make the most productive decisions for yourself and your baby.