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Maryland readers: Family law matters for unmarried couples rise

On April 20, in a post titled "Family law matters: Unmarried couples and children," we told our Maryland readers about some of the challenges that unmarried couples can face in the legal system when there are children involved. Recent reports indicate that the incidence of these challenges may be even higher, as more and more unmarried couples have children in the home. Like married couples, unmarried couples can experience family law matters such as child custody and child support, only their situations may be unique.

Recent reports indicate that 41 percent of cohabiting couples have children in the home. That percentage makes up over six million people in the U.S. alone. There are thoughts regarding the trend of cohabiting instead of getting married. One theory of why cohabiting couples have increased is due to education. Study results published by the National Center for Health Statistics reveal that individuals who have attained a higher degree of education, such as a college degree, are less likely to choose cohabitation over marriage, and are more likely to eventually get married.

Another reason why unmarried couples may opt to not get married is because of the kids. When kids enter the picture, the family dynamic changes, and many couples change the way that they view their relationship and marriage. For unmarried women with children who do choose to marry, more than 50 percent choose to marry someone other than the biological father of their child.

Unmarried couples come in all shapes and sizes, ages and preferences. Family law matters are not discriminatory to one demographic or family situation. Though every Maryland family is different, all share the common ground of needing support when their situation becomes challenging. Unmarried couples with children who find they are facing a challenging situation may take heart knowing that they are not alone, and that there are options available to them and their unique dynamic.

Source: The Arizona Republic, "In unmarried households, kids are now more common," Sharon Jayson, Oct. 17, 2012

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