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Shotgun weddings still common in North Carolina

Shotgun marriages,or weddings that take place as a result of a pregnancy, have long been considered a thing of the past. However, some couples still get married under these circumstances.

Shotgun marriages in North Carolina are actually surprisingly common in present times. Mid-pregnancy marriage-related births happen 6.3 percent of the time for whites, while African Americans have a 2.6 percent rate. It's been shown that there are increasing rates of shotgun weddings for white mothers under the age of 25 and for black women with a high school diploma or less.

On the whole, the rates of shotgun marriages in North Carolina are on the decline, falling from 8.8 and 2.7 percent to 6.3 percent for whites and 2.6 percent for African Americans. Certain groups have been seeing an increase in the number of shotgun weddings, but divorce rates do not follow the pattern. For white families, it's true that shotgun weddings tend to result in higher divorce rates, but this is not true for African-American couples.

Shotgun marriages are as legally valid as any other marriages, including the merging of marital assets. Child custody and support may also become concerns if you go through a divorce.

No matter the circumstances of the beginning of the marriage, if it later begins to break down, you may have to consider filing for divorce in order to resolve your differences and move on with your life.

A legal professional is one source of information about the divorce process and what you can do to protect yourself, your assets and any children that you may have.

Source: The Chronicle, "Think shotgun marriages are dead? A new study from Duke suggests otherwise," Jackie Dillon, Nov. 03, 2016

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