Most Broome County residents don't spend a lot of time thinking about child custody or alimony. That is often the case until a couple's marriage begins to break down. When couples decide to part ways, child custody, alimony, child support and property division matters become top of mind.
Divorces can be complex. However, settling family law matters in situations in which parents have never been married can be even more difficult. That's because marriage provides people with legal protections. Things are much less clear-cut when parents have not been legally married.
One woman knows this all too well. She got pregnant seven years ago. When she told her boyfriend at the time that they were having a baby he basically abandoned her. He didn't show up for the baby's birth and isn't even listed as the father on the child's birth certificate. She alone has supported their child.
"I think if we were married and then divorced, there would be a custody and alimony arrangement," the woman said. "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."
Despite the legal protections that marriage offers, some people simply aren't interested in it. Many people witnessed their parent's divorce and would rather not have to deal with that.
Unfortunately, even people who aren't married may be forced to deal with family law issues. Luckily, no matter what the situation, there are places to turn for assistance. A legal professional has a broad understanding of family law issues, and they can help people sort through their difficulties.
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