The concepts of marriage and parenthood are vastly changing as the Millennial Generation comes of age. The Pew Research Center published a report earlier in the year showing that Millennials – people born between 1977 and 1998 – want parenthood over marriage. The survey showed 52 percent believe that being a good parent is one of their biggest goals. Marriage was only a big goal for 30 percent of people.
As these attitudes have shifted, marriage has become less of a focus. Out of wedlock babies have increased, though. Being a good parent, to Millennials, does not necessarily mean that marriage is a must. Many couples are choosing to delay marriage, live together, and break away from the social norms of their parents.
Even though marriage is delayed or not a preference, when a couple has a child it can make them refocus their priorities. Some decide to create a cohabitation agreement to help spell out their responsibilities and rights as parents and a couple.
This can help protect each person and set up a framework should something happen to one of the parents. A modern-day – cohabitation agreement includes:
– each person’s parental rights and duties
– financial obligations
– property rights
– health care directives
– estate planning and inheritance wishes
– how long the agreement is good for and/or how it can be revised
For some Millennials, this is a good warm-up to getting married. The agreement helps safeguard each person yet also sets out how each person will be looked after. As a couple establishes more assets, property, and moves up in the work world, it can be a critical document to help them create a prenuptial agreement once it is time to get married.
Sometimes, though, the cohabitation and relationship does not work out, even if there is a child that both parents mutually love and want to care for. In these instances, the cohabitation agreement can provide a path for the main caregiver to receive child support. It will also help to modify each parent’s duties and set up a visitation agreement that both parties can agree to. For couples that can amicably agree on the parenting agreement, litigation is not necessary. A family law attorney can assist in creating a plan that the courts will approve for child custody and the visitation schedule.