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Modern families have more complexities than ever before

The modern family in North Carolina is a diverse, complex family unit. You can still find the homogeneity of the past, of course, but it does not dominate in the way it once did. People are more open-minded and it has changed family dynamics in numerous ways.

Below are a few key examples:


Statistics indicate that there are nearly 120,000 yearly adoptions, or just slightly less, in the United States. Non-relative adoptions are the most common by a fair margin, with just under 80,000. Next come other private adoptions, clocking in at 60,000. Public adoptions out of foster care sit slightly lower than private adoptions, and international adoptions are the least common -- though even they surged to a record high around 2004/2005, so many families are still growing with children who went through that process.

Same-sex marriage

Landmark changes to same-sex marriage came about in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that it must be allowed. Changes swept across the states. While some in North Carolina have attempted to put together new legislation to ban it again, nothing has gone through so far and does not appear likely to do so.

This led directly to an increase in same-sex marriage, as many couples could finally tie the knot legally. Many of these couples may already have been together for years, but they had no way to make it official. The relationships were not all new, but the changes to the law gave them access to some of the benefits of marriage, such as recognition as family members in emergency medical situations.

Of course, these marriages have also led to a lot of related legal issues, as these couples look into their rights regarding adoption, divorce and other issues that opposite-sex couples already dealt with on a regular basis.

Interracial marriage

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of interracial marriage in 1967, outlawing discrimination in any state. Back then, a mere 3 percent of all newlyweds picked a spouse of a different ethnicity or race than themselves. A study that looked at statistics from 2015 found that the percentage had climbed to 17 percent for modern newlyweds. That's an incredible jump, though it took decades to get there.

Overall, the study found that about 10 percent to total couples in the United States married those of a different ethnicity. This is right around 11 million people.

Diversity and modern options

As this shows, more than trends are changing when it comes to modern families. Yes, societal issues impact the way people build families, but very real legal changes often guide these issues or react to them. The law supports diverse families and it is very important for all those in North Carolina to understand the changes and their legal rights.

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Bull & Reinhardt, PLLC
160 E. Chestnut Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Phone: 828-348-8053
Fax: 828-254-5166
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