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One of the most popular shows on television is ABC’s “Modern Family.” The show features an engaged homosexual couple and two married heterosexual couples. The children on the show are biologically related to their parents, are adopted or are step-children. The structure of the extended “modern family” that appears on the show reinforces the idea that modern American families are structured in increasingly complex ways. One no longer needs to be related by blood or marriage in order to be considered part of an American family. Thankfully, the law is taking an expanded view of families as familial structure throughout the nation continues to evolve.

For example, certain unmarried couples now enjoy many of the same legal protections that married couples do. When committed unmarried couples choose to end their unions, they are often granted similar property division and child custody rights as married couples are, depending on the unique circumstances surrounding their cases.

In addition, LGBT couples are increasingly being granted access to the kinds of legal protections that both married and unmarried heterosexual couples currently benefit from. Children of unmarried and LGBT couples are also benefiting from child support orders and custody arrangements that fit their best interests.

Modern families in America do not all look the same. However, they are being treated more similarly under the law than they used to be. If you are struggling with a family law matter and your family does not conform to a traditional structure, please consult with an experienced attorney who is familiar with the current evolution of family law governing non-traditional familial structures.

Source: The New York Times, “The Changing American Family,” Natalie Angier, Nov. 25, 2013


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