Family law is an area of law that really focuses on the big picture, and tries to determine the best possible outcomes for families, especially the children involved. Unmarried parents and teens mothers face big challenges when it comes to raising a child. Often, family court is involved to settle child custody matters between the unmarried parents or allocate child support payments.
Recent statistics out of Michigan show, however, that the number of repeat teen mothers dropped. This means that there may be fewer incidents of child custody disputes, and less of a need for the courts to step in and make determinations on legal custody and visitation rights for parents. Michigan's overall teen birth rate also dropped. On the other hand, the number of adult unmarried mothers increased in Michigan.
Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) released the analysis, which looked at indicators for pregnant women and newborns during the years 2003-2005 and 2009-2011. For teens that already gave birth, the number of repeat births fell by 9%. The rate of unmarried mother increased by nearly 20%. This puts Michigan right in the middle of both stats when compared to all other 50 states.
In 2011, almost half of the women who gave birth were not married. Cited as a reason for this increasing number is the higher unemployment rate. Unemployment may cause men especially to put off on getting married. Although parents may believe there is a good reason not to get married, the lack of legal recognition of the relationship may create additional family law issues. A court may need to intervene to decide who gets physical custody, and how the parents can support the needs of the child.
Source: MLive Media Group, "Michigan report: More unmarried mothers, fewer repeat teen moms (see where your county ranks)," Jonathan Oosting, May 8, 2013.