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Consider cohabitation carefully if you have children

More and more couples are choosing to cohabitate before marriage or are choosing to cohabitate with no intention of marrying, even when children are members of the household. The stigma associated with couples living together outside of marriage has faded in recent years and there are many practical reasons to live together without becoming legally married. However, it is important to consider the consequences of your cohabitation arrangement if your living partner is not your child’s biological parent.

In the event of a split, child custody and visitation of your child will likely be fairly straightforward if your living partner is your child’s biological parent. If he or she is not, the arrangements could get complicated. Even if your living partner is not technically your child’s parent, if he or she has developed a substantial bond with your child and cares for him or her in any significant way, your partner may be entitled to visitation rights in the event of a split.

Even if your living partner does not seek visitation, your child may have a truly difficult time with that individual moving out. Living together often causes individuals to form intense bonds with one another and it may not be worth the risk to your child if you are unsure whether your potential living partner intends to stay for good.

Finally, inviting your love interest to move in with you may dramatically affect your child generally, your parenting style specifically and your future overall. When considering cohabitation, proceed cautiously if you have children.

Source: Huffington Post, “Cohabitation With Children: What Are the Risks?” Terry Gaspard, Sep. 12, 2013

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