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Do people really still care if you're not married when you have kids?(274 Posts)
I was in a meeting this morning and during the coffee break talk turned to kids.
Someone asked if we had plans for any, they know DP as he worked here a few years ago.
We would love kids and are currently TTC#1 but I didn't really want to go into that much detail so just said "oh we'd love it if we were lucky enough".
The one woman says "surely you need to get married first?! Don't you have any plans for that?" A younger lady really sarcastically said "oooh you devil, living in sin!" In a sort of sticking up for me way, not horribly.
It didn't bother me at all, but I found it quite funny that someone still thought that way!
Is this still a thing and I'm being dumb?
Out of the couples with kids that I know, around half were married when they had their kids and half weren't.
I just never realised people still thought this way!
Reading some of the mumsnet threads about women who had children without being married and ended up in a very vulnerable financial position when the relationship broke down has changed my views on this. I absolutely don't think there's anything intrinsically/morally wrong about having children when not married but I do think it's very risky to do something which is likely to limit your earning potential, even for a while, without ensuring that you have financial/legal protection analogous to that given by marriage.
You are very financially vulnerable if you have kids without being married and the marriage doesn't work out or one of you dies.
Make sure you have wills as currently you may not be your dps next of kin you won't be entitled to his pension, life assurance, death in service benefits. This is just an example.
See relationships threads for lots of examples if it going very very wrong for unmarried women with kids.
I had my first two out of wedlock and no one (outwardly) seemed to bat an eyelid. My third baby was born two months after we were married.
I would say I live in a very rural area, quite behind the times, but I've never been made to feel like I did things in the 'wrong order'
My mother does.
DD1 has two and is not married and she catsbummed a bit but didn't say much. Whe DS1 and his girlfriend said they were having a baby, I was the one who got the grief.
Apparently, I didn't bring them up properly. But, to be fair, she's always thought that.
The person who cares most is the Chancellor of the Exchequer and he shows how much he cares with a bill for Inheritance Tax when one of you joins the Great Majority.
It seems that in the UK that it is unwise to have children before getting married because of the aforementioned financial vulnerability as you don't have the same protections if you split up. Luckily in my country unmarried couples who have a child together get the same legal protections when splitting up as married people do when divorcing.
We weren't married. The financial 'vulnerability' to me only applies if one of you (according to mn almost always the man) earns the most/more. Me and DP earn equally fairly shit salaries so don't feel like this applies to us. In fact when we had our first I was the high earner so didn't feel vulnerable at all.
If someone unmarried mentioned they were thinking if having children, I might ask if they were thinking about marriage as well. It's not a judgement but the two are still connected. I would also, again without judgement, advise of the legal implications of not being married, if they were close friends.
I would not have chosen to have a family without getting married first, but from a moral perspective, I don't really care about others' lifestyle choices.
Just make sure you are not financially vulnerable.
Doesn't bother me at all whether or not someone is married - but as other people have said unfortunately marriage still gives a protection you just don't get out of it. So for me personally, I was happy to get married first.
On mumsnet apparently it's not the norm!
I was born in a mother and baby home over 30 years ago, with my parents pressured to give me up because they were young and unmarried. They didn't and are still together. It still boggles my mind a bit that was only 30 years ago!
As an unmarried woman having a baby now, I've received zero comment in real life on how I arrange my domestic affairs. Loadsa comments observed on here though.
I suppose because it can happen that people don't think about where they stand legally if unmarried, people assume that everyone who is unmarried is blissfully uninformed about the choice they're making. Or maybe they're unaware that you can do this stuff without being married?
But yes basically, make wills and be solid on finances if unmarried. Write things down about joint assets like a house. You need more separate pieces of paper essentially. You don't have to have that specific piece of paper.
My family would judge <sigh> My mum thought that since my cousin had kids with her partner there wasn't an incentive for him to marry her I enjoyed them proving her wrong when they got wed last year with a 10 yo and two 7yos
For me, I wouldn't due to the financial security points made earlier - and also because frankly I can't imagine ever having the time/money/energy to get around to a wedding if we had the kids first!
@thatstoast see that's the thing - why do people assume I don't know the implications of not being married? Boyfriend and I are making a choice. We may change our mind later down the line. Right now it's not an institution either of us wish to enter for different reasons. We have, apparently surprisingly, given it some thought!
In this day and age no one should really care! But unfortunately people still do.
My boyfriends grandparents were very uninterested and unhappy when it was mentioned we were having a baby. It apparently looked bad on their family name and their reputation in the community. They are not mayors or any high up importance just average people. So I was a bit like WTAF!
It wasn't their daughter or son it was their grandson and his girlfriend having a baby so really I think it was pretty pathetic on their behalf! My family didn't have an issue, life moves on I guess.
Marriage is just a piece of paper and ring at the end of the day, it ends as quick as it started for some. You shouldn't marry someone for their money you should have your own in case something ever went wrong!
Currently pg and unmarried and no-one has commented on it yet! Perhaps people are quietly assuming we're going to get married post kids (currently no plans to do so). We did spend quite a bit of time working through finances etc before TTC.
I think it partly depends how old you are as to how much people judge - once you hit mid-30s no-one IRL seems bothered if you have kids without being married first.
As a pointless aside, I've also noticed that IRL as opposed to mumsnet, it seems to be the norm for kids with unmarried parents to have their dad's surname.
Cheese achieved no it isn't just a piece of paper and a ring. It gives legal and financial protection. If your dp was on a life support machine, you are not the next if kin, you would have no say whether that was switched off nor funeral arrangements nor any access to his pension etc.
The 'just a piece of paper' view is very very naive
It's not a matter of marrying someone for their money.
A lot of women reduce their working hours when they have a baby. It's very, very hard to go back to the same position you used to be in. If you split up, only the woman will suffer financially then.
Take this scenario: a woman stops work for ten years (or works the odd shift at minimum wage) while the man continues in his career. They're not married. They split up - he has to pay CM but otherwise nothing about his life changes. The woman is still on a few minimum hours and struggles to get her footing back on the career ladder.
Or worse: A woman spends all of her children's lives either not working outside the home or working part-time, minimum wage. Her youngest child is 18. The relationship breaks down. She would be entitled to absolutely nothing.
This is even worse if the house is owned by the man from the beginning.
If the couple was married in the above situation, the wife would be eligible for at least half of the family's savings, house etc.
We're not married (both been married before), but I'm in the unusual position of not being financially vulnerable despite being a SAHM. I own assets from legacies which are solely mine, we have wills drawn up so that in the event of one going first the other won't have to worry financially, the kids all stay together (I have DS1 from my marriage), and things get paid off. However I'm well aware that our situation is not the norm, and it's an eye opener (not in a good way) reading some of the shit unmarried SAHM have been put through in the event of a split.
However it's possible to cover yourself legally with wills and stuff if marriage isn't your thing.
I've experienced the opposite actually!! People seem surprised to find out I'm married to my DCs' dad
I dontgive two hoots if people want a child and have no intention of getting married, but I do shake my head in wonderment at the current trend for having babies before marriage. Not all, but some people do seem to look upon having a baby as a trial to see if the marriage is a good idea. Have they no idea that becoming parents together is far far more of a commitment (lifelong, usually) than becoming a spouse when divorce is relatively early obtained.
Each to their own, and I know I am old fashioned, but I'm happy to be so.
I don't make any moral judgement, I would be concerned about financial vulnerability though. If the woman has enough assets of her own to support and house the children, with no assistance from the father and she is happy not to get married that is all good. But women who become a sahm on the basis of nothing but an expectation that a man will support them are naive and may find they get as rude awakening.
@dumbledore I have never come across that point of view. I have found that people are more willing to commit to buying a house together before getting married (which to me is a commitment that's as messy to end as marriage...).
However it's also possible that people who are unmarried have no intention of getting married, even when they have kids! Crazy huh?
I don't think most people care that much about what other people do.
The key question,is do YOU care about yourself being married before having kids?
Lots of people still want to be married before having kids. I think that this is becoming more polarised amongst the classes/level of affluence now to be honest. The middle classes are more likely to choose to marry before they have kids....often only a few months before they start trying, but they often want to be married. In middle class circles of people with kids, most people seem to be either married or dpseparated or divorced - ie they have been married. Of course there are exceptions.
In working class circles, it seems less common and far more common to have kids first and later marry, or perhaps not marry. Again, making a generalisation, before anyone points out all the people who don't fit with what I've said. Again, there are lots of exceptions.
I don't think either of these groups particularly judges others for not doing the same as them. That said, the fact that the majority choose in one direction from any group Suggests it is seen as the norm and desirable and so people choose it for themselves.
OP, you are thinking about TTC. AS lomg as you are happy doing it and not being married, most people are not going to bat an eyelid or care. You might find more people ask if you plan to marry, because having kids and being married is still strongly connected in most people's minds. However, I think when most ask this question, it's not in order to judge, it's just out of interest. You answer them and they go away just thinking 'oh, X is planning a baby and a marriage...how nice' or 'oh X is planning a baby, how nice' - Don't assume that every time you get asked this question you are being judged on your morality.
TBH, I think that if people make any judgement about the answer to the question of 'do you plan to marry' it's not about your morality, but your class. I'd imagine a lot of people won't like that idea, but I actually think this is more likely these days than judgement about morality.
Personally I would never have kids if I wasn't married but it doesn't bother me if someone does. I know a couple of couples with kids but don't want to get married because they don't want the commitment - I can't get my head around that but each to their own.
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