General Question

sarahc's avatar

What are the challenges of an unmarried couple having and raising kids together?

Asked by sarahc (20points) June 6th, 2008

I’m talking about a hetero couple, in a committed long-term relationship, with an intention and agreement to create a family and parent together. Maybe they’ve even had a public commitment ceremony. Do you think the legal marriage certificate important? Why?

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7 Answers

jlm11f's avatar

i don’t think the legal marriage certificate is important, IMO. If both members of the couple are financially self-dependent and know they will be able to make it (without the help of the law i.e. divorce) if perchance they do end up splitting up. Also remember, that since you won’t be legally married, you won’t get tax benefits, family health insurance benefits etc. If all these aspects don’t affect you, then there’s no problem!

soundedfury's avatar

From a legal standpoint, you’ll want to do what you have to ensure that you have the same standing as if you were married – life insurance, benefits, etc – in case of emergency. In some circumstances, not being legally married might become a barrier. Not so much between parent-kid but definitely between you and your partner. You may not, for instance, have the legal standing to make medical decisions for him should he be incapacitated.

From the pure raising of the kids standpoint, there is not real downside as long as the family is stable and committed.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I dont see any problems with it. I have a friend who has been with the same woman for about 6 years now and have 2 kids and are doing just fine. It actually works out better for them not to be married because when tax time comes she gets a lot of money because she is considered a single mother raising two children.

DeezerQueue's avatar

First question is, where exactly are you located, you’ve lived in different parts of the world and in fact, marriage will be recognized in all countries but partnerships will be viewed differently as soundedfury has already pointed out.

Not just from the point of the rights of the partner, but also of the children, the father will have to sign paternity affidavits for the children, for example.

Socially it’s hard to say, and largely dependent upon where you make your home, right down to the neighborhood. If you, for example, move to a somewhat conservative neighborhood you may find that your children may not be entirely accepted. Your child may have problems at schools, and I’m speaking from experience. I think we’d like to believe that we’re advanced enough to deal with this issue without discrimination, but there are places and people where discrimination based on your situation may exist. You will undoubtedly be asked why you just don’t marry.

Even though I don’t have an issue, there are some who do. It’s the reality.

jlm11f's avatar

@ DQ – How would the people know though? Unless the children/parents went around advertising it? (i am not trying to be a smart ass, just curious!)

DeezerQueue's avatar

Generally the names, and the names of the children, people just being curious, asking about how long they’ve been married (a getting to know you question when you move to a new neighborhood), gossip. If there are children, at some age they’ll make innocent statements, “My mommy and daddy aren’t married.”

gailcalled's avatar

My oldest step-son and his lady (they are unmarried) have twins who are 6. They both teach in respected Quaker day schools and no one gives a flying fig. They are together and committed and able to work thru problems.

In some states (RI I know is one of them) a couple becomes common-law if they own a house together, live together, pay joint real estate taxes, etc. My daughter and her former SO were together as common-law for twenty years. She was on his University Health insurance, etc.

If you fill out a legal health care proxy and living will, you can use your common-law partner the way you would any family member in the states where I have friends and family.

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