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Even without a legal marriage, divorce problems can still arise

Many Las Vegas readers have probably noticed the trend without reading any of the new stories about – marriage is at an all-time low in the United States. Experts at the Pew Research Center put it simply, saying that instead of getting married, many young people are choosing cohabitation, single parenthood, or other types of nontraditional living arrangements.

The increase in these non-marriage choices for adults has also meant an increase in the variety of legal troubles that can accompany the decision to have children or to live together but not make it official. People usually look at marriage as a commitment to love someone and stay with them forever, but the truth is that marriage is also a very complex contract and with a legally recognized marriage comes many rights and obligations from both the state and federal government.

Couples who have all the trappings of marriage but none of the rights and obligations find themselves in a legal grey area, and often in family court, when the relationship ends and the two attempt to go their separate ways.

While unmarried couples who share children will still have the right to court enforced child support, there are no provisions for visitation of the child or spousal support for an ex-partner who earns less. Married couples who end the relationship have the burden of state law to guide them through this process, but often that law winds up being a benefit since it can serve to protect the party with fewer resources and will ensure that the best interests of the child are met.

Source: New York Observer, “No Divorce Is the New Divorce: Moms and Dads Navigate Messy Breakups in Marriage-less World” Rose Surnow, March 19,2013

More information about child support is available on our Las Vegas Divorce site.

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