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Kids Before Marriage? What You Should Consider

Being a parent is one of the most important roles a person can have, as caring for a child is an incredible responsibility. While many moms and dads are focused on providing a home, saving for college and being a good role model, part of this responsibility also includes protecting your rights as your child’s parent, especially if you are not married to the other parent.

Even if you are planning to get married eventually, you should be aware of the steps you can take to protect yourself and your child if you are unmarried and have a baby.

Most importantly, a man may need to take a paternity test to confirm the biological relationship, even if he is presumed to be the father. This is necessary if the mother plans to pursue child support and/or if the father wants to secure his right to pursue custody or visitation rights now or in the future.

It can be wise to discuss these issues regardless of if you plan to eventually marry or not. According to a recent study, unmarried parents who have a child and then marry still have the same risk of divorce as people who marry before having children.

Further, being committed to your child’s other parent and even living with that person is not a guarantee that you will get married and it neither increases nor decreases the risk of divorce should you choose to get married, according to the study. With all these unknown factors in place, it can be crucial that you take steps to establish and protect parental rights.

Parents all across Florida may need to take steps to do this, considering the fact that about 35 percent of women who had their first child between 1997 and 2010 were unmarried in this country.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that issues like child support, paternity and parenting plans only affect divorced parents. But the truth is they affect parents who are unmarried as well. Discussing the situation with an lawyer can help you protect yourself, your rights and your child now and for the years to come.

Source: USA Today, “Baby before marriage doesn’t increase divorce risk, study says,” Mary Bowerman, Sept. 16, 2015

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