The Traditional Family in Texas is No Longer “Traditional”
Recent data from the US Census Bureau has shown that the majority of Texas families are no longer composed of the “traditional” elements–mother, father, and 2.5 kids. As expected, our state’s family law courts are seeing more and more of these “non-traditional” families.
More than 60 percent of the children living in Texas live with heterosexual married couples. Within that percentage, the couples are sometimes biological parents, sometimes with step-parents, and on occasion, with married relatives such as grandparents. Twenty percent of all children living in Texas live with single mothers, and 5.5% live with single dads. Less than one percent of all families consist of same sex couples (hardly surprising).
In reality, none of this is that surprising as the divorce rate has continually climbed over the years, and as the research director of the Council on Contemporary Families believes, more people living with non-traditional families are more willing to be public about it. She further explained that the traditional patterns of families are not disappearing as much as new patterns are emerging due to this somewhat new-found public acceptance.
Additionally, some of these new family lifestyles include “shifts” in a familial status. For example, a single mother with her son may move in with a boyfriend and eventually get married and then possibly eventually get divorced.
Most likely, we will continue to see this traditional statistic drop over the years. It’s already dropped 5% since 2010, and as same-sex cohabitation and adoption become more prevalent in Texas, as well as the divorce rate, we’ll continue to see the rate of non-traditional families increase.
None of this is necessarily a bad thing, but since Texas is a common law marriage state (for opposite sex cohabitation), these alternate family styles can be tricky when it comes to custody, child support, divorce, etc. One thing is for certain–the continual evolution of families in Texas will keep family law exciting and family law attorneys on their toes.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “ Census figures show changing face of Texas families,” Jeannie Kever, Aug. 11, 2011