For the first time, federal data has been issued from the National Center for Health Statistics around the rates of couples living together before marriage across the country. A component of this is an in-depth examination on the relationship between living together before marriage and having a child outside of wedlock. This data was collected between the years 2006-2010, and comprised of surveying over 12,000 women between the ages of 15 years old and 44 years old across the country.
Interestingly, this survey concluded that almost half of this population of women report that they lived with a significant other prior to marriage. Additionally, almost 1 in 5 of these women became pregnant and delivered a child within just one year after moving in with their significant other.
A lead author of this report says of the findings, “What we’re seeing here is the emergence of children within cohabiting unions among the working class and the poor. They have high standards for marriage and they don’t think they can meet them for now, but increasingly, it’s not stopping them from having a child. “
When a couple that is unmarried has a child, paternity is not assumed in the same manner that it is when a married couple has a child together. Accordingly, if a woman in Texas has a child and is not married, she would do well to establish paternity in order to receive financial assistance from the father. Shouldering this burden alone can be financially and emotionally overwhelming for many women.
Establishing paternity is of benefit to the father as well because it entitles him to parental rights. As the rates of individuals in Texas living together before marriage and having children together before marriage increase, there is an emphasis placed on the importance of understanding legal rights as they pertain to family law.
Source: USA Today, “Cohabitation first is new norm for unmarrieds with kids,” Sharon Jayson, April 4, 2013
- Our firm has experience handling cases of this nature in Texas. For more information, please refer to our page on paternity action.