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Unmarried with Children?

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Today, it’s becoming more common for people to live together without ever tying the knot. This new trend in relationships is possibly due to a variety of factors. First of all, there are fewer stigmas associated with the “live-in” boyfriend or girlfriend than there have been in years past. Also, in this shaky economy, jobs are often less secure, which makes people more reluctant to go through the motions of getting a ring and paying for an expensive wedding. In any case, they may still opt to move in together and have children, much like a traditional married family.

However, unmarried couples that opt to raise children together may experience some significant legal impacts. We’ve outlined some of the major ones below.

1. Unmarried relationship may affect legal status as a parent

When it comes to married couples, the child’s father is presumed to be the husband of the woman having the child. However, when the couples are not legally married, there is no such presumption. Therefore, Georgia, unmarried fathers will have to take legal steps to legitimize their children. The father must do this in order to ensure he is granted all the rights he would be given as a married father, but without a court order granting him custody, the child remains with the mother. This is not the same for married fathers.

2. For tax purposes, only one parent can claim the child as a dependent

This is an important consideration, as the person claiming the child as a dependent may have significant tax incentives above the other partner.

3. Children are entitled to government benefits from both parents

The child is entitled to qualify for government benefits such as Social Security survivorship benefits as long as the parent’s name is on the child’s birth certificate. Therefore, if a parent’s name is not on the birth certificate, there will be an added hurdle of proving paternity, which could be complicated if there is no other evidence of paternity and the parent has passed away.

4. Unmarried adoptions may be more difficult

It is perfectly legal for unmarried parents to adopt children. However, it is important to remember that some adoption agencies may discriminate against unmarried parents, which may mean you and your partner will have to do more work to ensure you are suitable parents who can provide a stable home.

If you are in an unmarried relationship and considering having or adopting children, contact our firm to learn how we can help you secure protections, regardless of your marital status.

407 East Maple Street, Suite 204 • Cumming, GA 30040

Copyright 2019 Reese-Beisbier & Associates, P.C.

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