In recent years, the negative stigma of children born to unwed parents has faded significantly and it is now considered socially acceptable to have children outside of a marriage. This is a noteworthy change from even twenty to thirty years ago.
According to the Kids Count Data Center, in 2009, nearly half, 47.7% to be exact, of children born in the state of Florida were born to an unwed mother. As for the Treasure Coast and surrounding areas, in St. Lucie County 48.9% of children were born to unwed mothers, in Martin County 46.4% of children were born to unwed mothers, in Palm Beach 45.7% of children were born to unwed mothers, in Indian River County 47.3% of children were born to unwed mothers, and in Okeechobee County 60.3% of children were born to unwed mothers.
A trend has developed where individuals are living together and having children, and instead of getting married, they make cohabitation agreements. However, studies have shown that these cohabitation agreements tend to be less stable than marriages. However, the rights of unwed parents, especially the rights of unwed fathers, are at risk when simply residing under a cohabitation arrangement. Unwed fathers lose significant parental rights until paternity is formally and legally established. It is highly recommended that all unwed parents set up a parenting plan to protect their rights to ensure that no issues arise if a break up occurs.
If you need assistance with establishing parental rights, setting up a parenting plan or child support, or if you have any other questions about the contents of this article, please contact Zweben Law Group to set up your free consultation today.