Tips for cohabitating couples who have children in Arizona

While not technically married in Arizona, some couples may live together and have children together. This creates a complex situation that needs to be addressed with care. These tips can help as they raise their children, ensuring that those children have the best possible lives.

-- Make sure that the name of each parent is listed on the birth certificate so that they are legally considered to be parents.

-- Decide beforehand on what last name the child is going to have; parents may have the option to select either of their own last names, a hyphenated option or even something else entirely.

-- Make sure that children are signed up properly for benefits from the government, such as Social Security. This can be done by any parent listed -- as mentioned above -- on the legal birth certificate.

-- Ensure that all tax laws are understood and followed correctly. For example, both parents are not going to be allowed to claim the same child if they are filing individually. A father or mother can make the claim, but both the father and mother cannot do it at the same time unless they get married.

-- Know what rights may be impacted by a breakup, even though it will not be a legal divorce.

As can be seen, there are many things to consider when having children and raising them as an unmarried couple. All cohabitating couples would really be wise to look into their rights and legal positions before having children but if children have already been born, it can still be valuable to investigate the legal aspects of the situation.

Source: FindLaw, "Tips for Unmarried Parents who Want to Raise Children Together" Oct. 09, 2014

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