Addressing the Legal Needs of Unmarried Parents and Their Children

In the vortex of social issues affecting our community and the nation, the Center hosted a training on April 29, 2011 about the law of paternity. Never-married mothers and fathers comprise a growing portion of parents in US families. Children of unmarried parents represent 75% of all African American households, 50% of all Latino and 30% of all Caucasian families.

These families are very poor. Children growing up in unmarried parent families, usually with the mother, are twice as likely to be living at or below the poverty level as any other group. They are more likely to have a father imprisoned, a mother who was a teen when she got pregnant, and parents who did not complete their education. The life outcomes of these children are far worse than other kids.

Because of their low income status, the often complex legal problems they bring, and the general unfamiliarity of the bar with paternity matters, the Center in collaboration with Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center, sponsored a 4 hour training on the subject. Lead by Glen Schwartz, CFLS, a recognized expert and sought after lecturer in the field who donated his time and materials, 80 lawyers from legal aid programs and private practice attended. A typical post-event comment made by an audience member was, “off the charts! Great CLE – I learned a lot!”