The divorce rate is declining. The marriage rate is too.
But one family-related statistic isn’t decreasing:
The percentage of all US births that are out-of-wedlock, at least those to mothers under the age of thirty (who represent two-thirds of all births).
Nationwide, that percentage has climbed to a solid majority of births, fifty-three (53%) percent.
In some communities, such as Lorain, Ohio, the percentage has risen to sixty-three (63%) percent.
Many reasons have been cited for these sweeping social changes:
- Men perceive divorce law as inequitable and burdensome to them.
- And women increasingly view men as, at best, unreliable noncontributors to their families, economically and otherwise. And, at worst, denizens of the criminal element.
- Perhaps interestingly, some blame these social changes on the government-furnished safety net inspiring irresponsibility and unaccountability, more than the recession.
A local family court judge invokes the case of a man with nine out-of-wedlock children … by six different mothers. And his mounting child support arrearages.
On the other hand, in years gone by, as many as one-third of marriages may have been precipitated by accidental pregnanies – at a time when pregnancy stigmatized an unwed mother.
What does all this mean for the Florida family courts (and other states’ family courts)? Fewer divorce cases. More child support-only cases and more child custody cases, called paternity cases.
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