What is marriage?
Traditionally marriage is a civil contract that exists between two people of the opposite sex. In the past, marriage was considered to be between people of opposite genders. However, the times are changing, and same sex marriages are now being considered in some states. Only in very few states are same sex marriages actually legal. To be "capable of contracting", both persons typically must be of age (18), or have consent from a parent. Different states have different statutes on the "legal age" for marrying. The individuals must be unmarried and not divorced within the past six months.
What is common law marriage?
Common law marriage is only allowed in a small number of states. In a common law marriage, the individuals do not have a marriage ceremony and never obtained a marriage license to get married. Basically, a common law marriage requires an arrangement between the people (of opposite sexes) to act as husband and wife. This agreement can either be made by conduct or by words. The people involved must represent themselves (act in a way to appear to be married) to others as being married. For example, if they use the same name, call each other husband and wife, have children together, open joint bank accounts, and live at the same residence, all of these "indicia" of being married may be sufficient.
Is a father who never married the mother still required to pay child support?
The short answer to this question is yes. When a mother is not married, however, there can sometimes be confusion about who the child’s legal father is for purposes of support. An "acknowledged father" is any biological father of a child born to unmarried parents for whom paternity has been established by either the admission of the father or the agreement of the parents. Acknowledged fathers are required to pay child support. Additionally, a man who never married the child’s mother may be presumed to be the father if he welcomes the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his own.
More than a million children a year experience their parents’ divorce. It’s a stressful time for the entire family, full of changes for everyone involved. Children are creatures of habit and routine, so divorce often turns their world upside down.
The good news is that you can make your child’s adjustment to these changes much easier, simply by the way you choose to interact with your spouse.
How to tell them
It’s best if you and your spouse can tell your children about the divorce together. Make sure the children understand that you both still love them and will take care of them. Speak honestly and simply, and skip the ugly details.
Use simple phrases like: "Your mom (or dad) and I have been having trouble getting along, so we think it’s best for us to live apart."
Anxiety and anger
Initially, children may be most interested in concrete things, such as where they’ll live and what school they’ll attend. Try to make arrangements that disrupt their routines as little as possible. Even if things must change drastically, establish new routines and then stick to them. This helps children of all ages feel more secure.
Your child may respond to the stress of divorce with strong emotions — anxiety, grief, depression or even relief. But the most common response is anger. This anger may turn inward, resulting in depression and withdrawal, or it may turn outward and cause behavioral problems.