Phone: 301-738-7770
Steven J. Gaba, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Phone: 301-738-7770

Family law matters: Unmarried couples and children

Depending upon the nature of the relationship, unmarried couples in Maryland and elsewhere can face unique challenges. This is particularly true when children are involved as sifting through family law matters can become quite complicated while trying to decide child custody for those who were never married. However, a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more and more people are deciding to have children outside of marriage.

In a previous report published by the government, it was found that births to unwed mothers accounted for 40 percent of all newborns. However, the new CDC study looks deeper into the data and reveals that the majority of the unwed births are to unmarried couples who are living together. In all, about 23 percent of all births are to cohabiting but unmarried couples.

That number is up dramatically from a decade ago. In 2002, just 14 percent of all births were to heterosexual, cohabiting couples. That represents an increase of nine percentage points over just 10 years, or almost a full percentage point per year.

There may be many reasons for the increase. For one, more couples than ever are choosing to live together before marriage, either putting off the wedding until a later date or simply never getting married at all. It could also be an economic decision or a lifestyle choice. Yet no matter the reason, unmarried couples in Maryland with children might eventually have to deal with the family law matters of child custody and child support. When they do so, they could experience unique legal obstacles that married couples may not necessarily face.

Source: News-Medical.net, "Around a quarter of all babies born to unwed couples: CDC study," Dr. Ananya Mandal, April 15, 2012

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