Family barristers can advise on unmarried births

Family barristers can help unmarried couples to ensure legal custody of their children is set down on paper by mutual agreement, avoiding any disagreements further down the line.

In 2002, just over 40% of children were born out of wedlock, accounting for more than 240,000 babies over the course of the year.

Of these, just over 40,000 were sole registrations; roughly as many were jointly registered, but with the parents living at different addresses; and over 160,000 were born to unmarried but cohabiting parents.

In the latest data, for 2012, the proportion of babies born to parents who were not in a marriage or civil partnership rose to nearly 47.5%.

Nearly 230,000 of these – more than 30% of the total – were jointly registered at the same address; 10% were jointly registered by non-cohabiting parents; and almost 6%, over 40,000 babies in all, were registered to lone parents.

While a total of nearly 80% of 2012 births were to parents in marriages or civil partnerships, or residing at the same address, family barristers can help to ensure there are no problems arising from unmarried status, or from living separately.

Taking prompt action on custody arrangements can provide much-needed stability in the early years of a child’s life, helping both parents to raise their child to maturity with fewer disputes and disagreements.