Born in 1980, I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I graduated with a degree from Ohio State in 2003 and was determined to succeed on Wall Street.
Although my resume was solid, the prestigious investment banks in Manhattan were only interested in applicants from the Ivy League.
Never one to quit, I found a job day-trading stocks and options at a small firm in New York City, where I learned a great deal about risk and reward.
In 2006, I moved to a more senior role at a larger investment firm in midtown Manhattan. I have been there ever since and feel grateful to be one of the lucky few who enjoy their work.
My beautiful daughter was born soon after that. Although her mother did not try to block me from seeing her, I did have to fight tooth and nail for standard visitation and legal custody rights.
But, even after I won my rights, my struggle was not over.
I had to return to the court system four additional times, once each year after the next, to enforce those rights. All in, I spent over $160,000 in legal fees, and I never even had an actual trial.
My heart goes out to fathers who cannot afford to defend their paternal rights.
After years of fielding questions and offering advice to friends in similar situations, Jessica and I are still learning how to be better co-parents.
We hope some of the knowledge we pass on here and in our book will help others find the better path forward.
Born in 1981, I also grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Jim and I went to high school together, but we did not become a couple until years after our first children were born.
I graduated from Villanova University with a nursing degree, which I practiced for almost fifteen years until my second son (this one with Jim) was born.
We married in 2016 and have intimate knowledge of each other's history and struggles dealing with our respective co-parents.
Things didn't go well with my first son's father initially. We were hardly speaking at the time of his birth.
Like Jim, we avoided a trial at the last minute, but the year-long battle still cost me over $30,000 in legal fees.
I remember thinking, "how could it cost so much?"
With hindsight, I realize now that the key to keeping the attorney fees down is to understand and accept what is legally reasonable and to be willing to compromise just a little bit.
Like Jim, I have also found myself answering questions from others going through this complicated and stressful ordeal over the years. We thought, "there's got to be a better way to help these people avoid our mistakes."
And that's how Baby Out Of Wedlock was born.
I hope our website and book can help people push through this challenging time and focus on what matters most, which is, of course, your child.