Briefing Paper: Unmarried Couples with Children

25 Oct

This week I chose to read about couples that are unmarried, but have children together. According to this article, about 1/3 of babies born in the US today are born to unmarried parents. What I found interesting was that most births that occur outside of marriage are common among low-income women. Although about 80 percent of these couples are romantically involved at the time of their child’s birth, most of them never marry. This article states that only about 7 percent of the couples were married to each other five years later. That is a pretty small number. But just because these couples are not married, does not mean that they don’t want to be married. Sometimes there are other factors that come in to play that affect them being able to marry.  Economic status is of course one of the more important factors that comes into play when marrying. Unmarried couples with children have said that they wish to marry once they reach more stable financial state. These couples don’t expect too much, simply to have a decent job and the ability to pay their own bills without depending on family, friends, or the government.  Image 


This article was about how an unmarried mom and dad should go about things after they separate. It talks about visitation rights, custody, and child support. Things that, regardless of being married or not, are something that need to be dealt with. One of the problems with this is that because the couple is not legally married, there sometimes isn’t a whole lot a judge can do about child-raising issues. It is kind of up to the parents to decide on the three issues I previously mentioned. Although, is the well being of the child/children is at risk physically or financially, the courts may order certain obligations be carried out.


This article talked about people, having been previously married, who get together and just decide that marriage isn’t something they want to rush into. Because this couple was slightly older (mid-30s), the idea of planning a marriage just didn’t seem like the appropriate thing to do, since the woman’s biological clock was ticking. So they decided to try to have a child together, and if they could not, they would get married and adopt. After being with her boyfriend for eight months, they became pregnant. This article stated that more people are cohabiting, and many of those cohabiting couples are having children.


This was a really interesting article. It was about Ted and Joanne, an unmarried couple, living together, and agreeing to support the stay-at-home-partner. Ted has children from a previous marriage, and Joanne has a child as well. What they have decided to do, is Ted is to continue to work as a physician, and he is going to pay Joanne for raising the children and keeping things around the house in order. They are in a committed long-term relationship, and are going to be loving and nurturing to each other and their children. They agree on a set of conditions that are suitable for each other. I don’t think this was a real scenario, but it was interesting to read about, as I’m sure there are families out there that are in similar situations. 


Now more than ever, unmarried couples with children are staying together longer than before. According to a study, half of women ages 15-44 (such a young age group to begin with I think), say that their first union was cohabitation not marriage. Cohabitation is more of a step towards marriage, more than it is an alternative to marriage. It is becoming more common, and very normal for people in today’s society. What I found interesting was that this article too stated that unmarried couples don’t feel completely ready to meet the high standards they have for marriage, but do feel ready to have children. 


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