It’s becoming more common than ever before for Tennessee children to be born outside a marriage. According to a 2015 study, 40 percent of children in the U.S. were born outside marriage. This statistic represents a significant increase since 1970 when only 10 percent of children were born outside marriage.

Comparatively, more children are born outside marriage in the European Union. In the EU, 60 percent of children were born outside marriage in 2015 while 20 percent were born outside marriage in 1970.

Despite these statistics, most children still grow up being raised by two parents even if the parents are not married. One in 10 children in the EU lived with a single mother in 2015 while one in four lived with parents who were not married.

In addition, many women are waiting longer to have kids. The average age for a woman to have her first child increased from 22 years old in 1970 to 26 years old in 2014.

These trends could have ramifications in regard to family law. For example, unwed couples may be treated differently in court when they litigate child custody matters. Fathers who want to see their children may need to petition a court to declare paternity before they can request a determination regarding custody and visitation. The unwed mother in a paternity case may request DNA testing of her child and the alleged biological father.

An attorney may be able to help fathers who want to establish child custody rights for children who were born out of wedlock as well as mothers who want to request child support. Furthermore, legal counsel could advise unwed parents about their rights and responsibilities according to state law.