Survey highlights changing opinions about family issues

A recent article highlighted changing societal opinions about various aspects of relationships and family life. The data, based on survey responses collected between 2011 and 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, involved around 10,000 participants between 15 and 44 years of age.

The changes might have relevance to the considerations that a family law court may bring to child custody and support determinations. For example, over three-quarters of women in the national survey approved of a single woman’s decision to have and raise a baby. Approval among men was just slightly lower, at 69 percent. Similar percentages also expressed approval of the right of gay couples to adopt children.

Perhaps most notable is that over 90 percent of the survey respondents believe that children are not necessary to find happiness in life. That statistic may suggest that more Americans are choosing to have children only when they are ready to accept the accompanying responsibility, rather than being pressured into having children for other reasons.

What remains constant is the understanding that it takes a lot of time, energy and love to raise a child. In legal terms, a court defines this responsibility as the best interest of the child standard. Any determinations of child custody and support are usually made with that consideration in mind. In turn, a variety of factors can be considered when determining a child’s needs. As societal opinions change, so too may divorce courts be ever more willing to consider new and innovative approaches to divorcing parents and their visitation proposals.

Source: Washington Post, "Survey: More acceptance of social changes — except divorce," Mike Stobbe, March 17, 2016