Divorce Seen As Biggest Challenge to Stable American Family Life, New Survey Reveals

New York, New York (PRWEB) October 18, 2006

Americans point to divorce as the biggest challenge to stable family life today, outpacing other factors (1) such as same-sex or dual-career couples, according to a new survey, The Changing Shape of the American Family. Conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Martindale-Hubbells lawyers.com from LexisNexis and Redbook magazine, the survey is featured in the November issue of Redbook.

Nearly nine in ten (88%) of U.S. adults say divorce has a negative impact on maintaining a stable American family life. In comparison, 53 percent feel that way about same-sex couples, and 50 percent say dual-career households negatively impact families. Virtually all U.S. adults (99 percent) acknowledge that families have changed over the past generation, and 70 percent say those changes have been for the worse.

Clearly, many Americans are anxious about the forces that threaten family. They’re struggling to understand all this change and what it means for their own personal choices, but they also feel a lot of compassion toward other families that make different choices–or don’t have a lot of choices, said Stacy Morrison, editor-in-chief of Redbook.

Family Law Confuses Majority of Americans

The unease that many U.S. adults feel about non-traditional family arrangements could be compounded by their lack of familiarity with legal concerns that affect families. The survey shows that 85 percent say they are somewhat or not at all knowledgeable about basic family law issues.

Nontraditional families are evolving faster than laws can keep up. Many people now need to take special care to ensure that their family, particularly if its not a traditional nuclear arrangement, is protected financially and legally, said Alan Kopit, legal editor of lawyers.com, the most comprehensive and trustworthy online resource for finding lawyers.

Among the documents Kopit recommends adults consider are wills, prenuptial agreements, co-habitation agreements and powers of attorney.

If you are a grandparent caring for grandkids, or if youre the primary caregiver to minor step-children, you likely have different legal rights and responsibilities than those raising kids in nuclear families, said Kopit. Its important to seek out legal information and counsel to ensure your family is protected.

Todays Typical American Family

The following data from the survey reveals the make-up of American families:

–One-half of all U.S. adults are currently living with a spouse or opposite-sex partner;

–Thirty-six percent of those married or living with a partner currently live with their biological children;

–Nearly one in five (19%) U.S. adults with at least one child in the household also have one non-immediate family member living there (such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent);

–Parental ties are strong: nearly half (45%) of single, never-married U.S. adults live with at least one biological parent; and

–Some Americans go solo: nearly one-in-five (17%) of all adult Americans live alone.

For more information about the survey, visit lawyers.com.

Survey Sample and Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of lawyers.com from LexisNexis and Redbook magazine, between August 16 and 23, 2006 among 1,092 U.S. adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, race/ethnicity, education, household income, and region were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 1,092, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of + / -4 percentage points. Sampling error for sub samples would be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Lawyers.com

Martindale-Hubbells lawyers.com(SM) (http://www.lawyers.com) from LexisNexis is the leading lawyer directory on the Web, providing consumers and small businesses access to a free database of more than 440,000 attorneys and law firms nationwide. Lawyers.com helps site visitors make a fast, informed decision when choosing a lawyer. More than one million searches per month are conducted at lawyers.com by consumers and business people in search of the right lawyer for their needs.

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