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5 Complications That Might Happen if You Have a Child When You’re Unmarried

Getting pregnant and having a child, whether planned or unplanned, is a life-changing event. While being a parent comes with a lot of joy and happiness, it also comes with some complications and challenges.

One of the biggest issues new parents might face is being unmarried. Having a child while unmarried can cause many problems for both parents and the child. Let's discuss five complications that might happen if you have a child when you're unmarried.

Legal Issues

Legal issues are one of the most significant complications that parents might face when having a child unmarried. The non-marital status of the parents can make it difficult for the father to establish paternity and gain parental rights.

For example, this means that the father might be unable to make any decisions about things like education, medical treatment, or custody. Things get trickier if the father's signature is not on the birth certificate.

In addition, if the parents split up, they might have to go through a legal battle to establish custody and parentage. This can be messy, take some time, and cause stress for everyone involved.

Financial Costs

Another complication of having a child unmarried is financial costs. Raising a child is expensive, and being unmarried can add another layer of costs.

For example, unmarried parents don't have the same tax breaks as married couples. The father, in particular, might have to pay more in taxes.

There can also be issues with dividing costs should the parents split. While each parent is obligated to contribute, it can be harder to enforce that if the couple isn't married.

Social Stigma

Unfortunately, there is still a social stigma associated with having a child unmarried.

Many people still look down upon couples that have a child outside of marriage. The stigma can result in the parents being judged and even ridiculed for their decision. Finding a support system can also be harder, as some groups like playgroups and mommy groups might be geared toward married couples.

The stigma can also affect the child's development. A child might face bullying at school, discriminatory treatment, and a biased attitude from others.

Benefits and Safety Nets

Without marriage, unmarried parents don't have the same benefits and safety nets that married couples do.

For example, if something happens to one partner, the legal protection for the other parent and child can be murky. The father might be unable to gain custody of his child or receive financial support from the mother should something happen to her.

The couple also won't be able to benefit from things like health insurance and Social Security benefits. They might also struggle with things that are dependent on marital status, such as getting a loan or signing a lease. Resources like housing, child care, and medical assistance might be harder to come by.

Relationship Strains

Having a child unmarried can also put a lot of strain on the relationship between the parents. Having a baby is already a huge challenge, and adding the lack of legal protections and financial burdens can make it even more challenging for some couples.

One of the benefits of being married is there are several legal protections in place should the parents separate. While there are legal protections if unmarried couples separate, some things like child support become trickier and more complicated to figure out.

This uncertainty can put a lot of stress on the relationship between the parents. Not knowing what happens if the couple splits can make it harder to stay together, affecting the child.


Having a child unmarried can come with many complications, and parents need to be aware of the potential challenges they might face.

It's also essential to remember that every family is unique and special, and there are ways to ensure the child is cared for and raised in a safe and healthy environment. Just because you’re unmarried and have a child doesn’t mean you’re going to fail as a parent or your relationship will fall apart.

You should be aware of some of the challenges, but you shouldn’t live in fear of them. Do what’s best for your partner and child, and always remember to take things one day at a time.

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