A recent report published by the National Marriage Project finds that children are now more likely to have unmarried cohabitating parents than divorced parents. This finding is consistent with growing findings that more and more couples in the U.S. are cohabitating rather than marrying.
This trend presents significant challenges in the judicial system. In Indiana, as is true with most states, the legal system is built upon the public policy of favoring married couples. Divorces can be messy and difficult for married couples who are ending their relationships, but there are statutes in place that provide the legal framework for that dissolution. For the cohabitating couple, there is no such framework.
Cohabitating couples in Indiana must use common law as interpreted by our appellate courts to deal with the same underlying relationship-based issues. It is an inexact process at best and can be cost prohibitive for many Hoosiers. Yes, there are legal remedies for dividing shared property and sorting through a couple’s finances. However, that path is not always clear. Again, public policy favors marriage and our laws reflect that preference. The growing trend toward more and more cohabitating couples may force our policymakers to address the changing needs of many Hoosiers.
To read more about the report by the National Marriage Project, please view the New York Times article here, published August 16.
For more information about cohabitation in Indiana, please contact the Private Client Group at Bingham McHale.Go to blog homepage >>