Friday, May 21, 2021

Book Review: Baby Out of Wedlock

Happy Friday! I hope you have a bangin' weekend planned ahead of you. We have a soccer game for Penelope, the three girls have a dance recital, and I might have Jackson help me spread mulch but I haven't committed to that yet. It might end up being a totally last minute decision, like everything else in our lives. 

Baby Out of Wedlock: 

Co-parenting Basics From Pregnancy to Custody

Jim & Jessica Braz

This book answers all the basic questions regarding paternity tests, co-parenting relationships, child custody laws, visitation rights, support payments, and much more. The result is a better relationship with your co-parent and lower attorney fees.

Each author has a child born out of wedlock from their previous relationships. They both stumbled through terrible custody battles, making many rookie mistakes that led to important lessons learned. The information offered here could quite literally save you thousands of dollars, especially if you and your co-parent both read it. You will need an attorney to get through this no matter what, but once both parents understand what is reasonable, there should be no need for a costly, drawn-out custody battle.

By reading this book, you'll learn how to write an effective Parenting Plan and how to enforce it without repeated trips back to court. Since the authors have experience in both the mother's and father's perspectives on these issues, you will get balanced, gender-neutral advice on protecting your parental rights while learning how to get along with your co-parent for the long-term.

If you know me in real life, you know I am a sucker for reality TV court shows. One of the perks of being home during the day is being able to watch Paternity Court because the entire process of not knowing who the father of your baby is but being able to narrow it down to three is fascinating to me. 

I'm telling you- I am far too organized of a person to ever get myself into that situation. I know who, what, when, and where, let's put it that way. 

But things happen. And maybe you're married and things are swell... until they aren't. You find yourself separated/divorced and having to co-parent with someone you very likely don't like anymore. You might get lucky and it is amicable and you can work the kinks out fairly easily. The majority of the time it is a lot harder than that. Child rearing is the easiest way to stick it to the other person but the only one who really loses here is the child(ren) so it is always important to save the drama when it comes to the child(ren). 

Which is exactly where this book comes in. As clearly stated at the beginning, this doesn't take the place of a good family lawyer. You're going to want that because that's really for the benefit of the child. You want to make sure things like custody, visitation, child support, health insurance, etc. is completely hashed out so there is no room for error. That benefits everyone. 

The book covers everything from a positive pregnancy test to parenting once the child is here. I love that the book talks about paternity tests because when you're married, it's just assumed the parents are the married couple. If you're not married... there's always that question. It's normal to feel insulted BUT the father has the right to be as sure as she is because parenting is for life. Not only that, but if you've ever watched Paternity Court when it is an adult child wanting to know if someone is their father- it's heartbreaking to see that they've missed out on an entire childhood of needing their dad. It's like regular medical tests and you hear people say they are too scared to go, my response is and has always been, "just go- you can do something with information, whether it's good or bad. If you don't have the information you need, you're stuck and something else makes the choices for you.". Even if you 100% do not want to be the dad, you need to find out because you've got new avenues to go down once you know for certain. 

The book does go into light legal discussion (like custody options and financial support) but only to clarify some common options. I have so many friends who co-parent with ex-spouses and partners and I bow down to you all. I know I would forever be lost on who has them on what days, so the fact that so many can keep it straight and plan for things ahead of time just amazes me. I also like the point made that 1. babies cry, that's how they communicate, so if they cry with one parent, it is totally normal and 2. going extended periods of time without seeing your child is a common mistake but also not good. Included in the book is a 15 step checklist of what you need to do/the general outline of what happens because sometimes knowing what's down the road helps you drive the car, so to speak. 

Also great information- parenting coordinator! I always ask my friends if they have one of these because I learned of them through another friend and they can really be a godsend. They are your go-between. They mediate all of the details and can really make co-parenting a lot smoother and less stressful. 

I found the child support section incredibly fascinating because I know very little on how it is calculated. I know state by state it is done differently, but whoa. In some states I'd be better off to not work and have babies with a guy who would reliably pay child support. Good grief!! I have a lot of things to say about child support as it is, I don't always think it's calculated fairly and there must be a better way. 

All in all, this was a great starting point for anyone facing the reality of co-parenting with someone. It's definitely not a cake walk and many people don't realize all of the obstacles and loop-holes coming their way and that makes it difficult to plan for. I mean, honestly- do you care where your child is for Valentine's Day? If someone asked me that right now I'd have to shrug my shoulders because that isn't one I really care about but you know, someone might get petty. It actually isn't a bad read if you're married and having children together- it beings up a lot of topics that even married couples don't necessarily think about when babies are being conceived and just trying to get through that first hard year. I know Matt and I disagreed on some disciplining, eating all the food on your plate, handling tantrums, etc. Our oldest is almost 16 and our youngest is almost 5 so we're what you'd call "experienced" but even now, we disagree on things. We've always maintained it would have been helpful to do pre-marital counseling but also pre-baby counseling because it is hard to parent under the best of circumstances, let alone if you're no longer together and have wildly different opinions. I mean, you broke up for a reason, having to parent forever with this person is going to be TOUGH. 

Thank you to the authors, Jim & Jessica Braz, for sending me a copy for review! They also have a website with more information about them and their book that I suggest checking out too: . The book comes out on May 30, but you can pre-order it now: 

This post contains affiliate links.

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