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Unmarried parents may not avoid family law issues

The definition of family is constantly changing. For Michigan couples, many may choose to have children even without being married. Some people don't want to get married. They may have bad memories from their parent's divorce or unhappy marriages. Whatever the reason, unmarried parents face added struggles.

Marriage brings a legal, procedural aspect to a break up that is otherwise missing. The divorce process will separate assets, money, property and deal with child issues. Couples who don't get married may have to figure out the separation process all on their own, without any legal guidelines. Alimony, or spousal support, will not even be a possibility for unmarried couples.

The decision not to get married may have its appeals but when the relationship falls apart, couple's may regret that choice. In fact, marriage may help keep people together. According to a study from the University of Michigan, married couples with children are more likely to stay together than unmarried parents.

Yet the rate of marriage is declining. In the United States, over half of the children born to mothers under 30-years-old have parents who are unmarried. And these unmarried parents are quickly finding out that breaks ups are still messy and family law issues still apply even if there isn't an actual divorce.

Unmarried parents that separate still need to navigate child custody arrangements and child support orders. A family law attorney can provide some advice and guidance on these issues and help parties come to an agreement that works towards the best interest of the children involved, as well as the parents.

Source: The Week, "How divorce makes a strong case for marriage," March 20, 2013

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