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Melissa A. Featherston

Cohabitation increase may raise St. Louis fathers' rights questions

Many couples are now choosing to have children outside of marriage. This is according to government data that shows a dramatic increase in the past few years in the number of people that are having children while cohabitating. This means parents are living together with their children, but aren't married.

An increase in cohabitation among young parents may raise some questions about St. Louis fathers' rights to see their children if the couple splits up. Many fathers might be concerned that since they weren't married to their child's mother, they won't have the right to see their child if the couple splits up. It is important for fathers to understand they still have rights.

Although child custody agreements are typically associated with St. Louis divorce cases, they can also be the result of two people splitting up even though they aren't married, which could increase the concern for fathers' rights. Every parent should have the right to see their children and be a part of their lives.

While sometimes couples can agree on child custody issues without the need to have a judge decide, it is important that couples protect that agreement by making it binding through the court. This will ensure that both parents honor the agreement.

Speaking with an experienced child custody attorney can ensure that fathers' rights are protected when a couple has a child outside of marriage. They can help finalize a compromised agreement between to parents or advocate for your rights if an mutual agreement cannot be reached.

Source: USA Today, "More children born to unmarried parents," Sharon Jayson, April 12, 2012

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