'It's helpful to get married, if you want to get divorced'
The title of this post is a quote from a 36-year-old father, who had never been married to his ex-girlfriend, and when the breakup happened, it was long and messy. Rose Surnow writes for the New York Observer, describing a similar situation for many unmarried couples with children.
These couples get together and have kids and everything seems to be working - until it doesn't. And when it doesn't, the process of separation isn't quite as easy as the process of divorce.
Unmarried couples simply have fewer options for legal recourse as married couples do when it comes to breaking up. Primarily, there's the matter of child custody and financial support, and particularly single young mothers find themselves fighting for what they need in terms of child support, alimony, and visitation.
If a marriage had been the case, many of these young mothers would have court orders governing these matters. As Surnow reports, one woman said: "I think if we were married and then divorced, there would be a custody and alimony arrangement. My son would be better off because there would be more money coming in, and he would spend more time with my ex because he would be obligated to."
Of course, it's not like there's a complete absence of legal recourse for unwed parents who are splitting up. That's where an experienced family law attorney can make a difference, helping to advocate for the client's best interests inside and outside the courtroom.