In some cultures, getting married first before building a family and having children is important. For one, marriage is a legal union between two persons who are supposed to love each other for the rest of their lives. Marriage also gives them the legal authority to conjoin their material possessions as part of their financial security. More importantly, a happy marriage makes a family feel more secure physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.
However, problems may arise if the couple is unmarried with children, yet decided to separate. Questions may also arise: Should you hire child support lawyers regarding financial support for your kids? Can spousal support lawyers help me get alimony following the separation? These are some of the crucial concerns unmarried couples may face in the event that they decide to part ways for good.
All about common-law marriages
For starters, a common-law marriage is considered an informal marriage. It refers to couples who have not legally or religiously bound their union unlike traditional marriages (i.e. no official wedding happened). Yet, common-law marriage is mostly considered as “married” in many states and countries around the world.
Other terms for common-law marriage is sui iuris marriage and marriage in fact. In layman’s term, a common-law marriage is also known as cohabitation, live-in, and domestic partnership. When they separate, they may still need to hire divorce lawyers even if the couple is not officially “married” through church or civil wedding.
It is a commonly accepted fact that a cohabiting couple should be living together at least seven years to be considered as a common-law marriage. However, there is really no specific court or state law that dictates how many years a couple should live together for a common-law marriage to exist.
Only a few US states recognize common-law marriage. These include Alabama, Colorado, and Kansas among a few. The rest of US states do not recognize common-law marriage and require couples to get a marriage license and get wed in a church or via civil. If a couple who have cohabited in a state where common-law marriage is recognized and then moved to another state that does not recognize it, both states will recognize their common-law marriage.
What happens when common-law couples split?
Contrary to popular belief, a separation between common-law spouses may be similar to married couples who divorce. In other words, you cannot simply part ways just because you are not married on paper. Common-law marriage is still considered marriage, whether made official on paper or not.
That said, common-law spouses will still have to go through a divorce. This is applicable in US states that recognize common-law marriages. If you are considering separating from your common-law husband or wife, you may have to consult divorce lawyers to settle the matter.
Likewise, you may also have to hire child support lawyers if you have children with your common-law spouse. Meanwhile, it is also a good idea to consult spousal support lawyers to settle alimony conditions. For the latter, there are also various factors to be considered such as:
- The dependent spouse’s financial needs
- The providing spouse’s financial capabilities
- The duration of the couple’s relationship
- The income of each spouse
Alimony is also applicable for common-law marriages. However, it will depend on which state you are in. If you are not sure, you can consult top rated divorce lawyers regarding such matters.
Other facts about common-law marriage
Common-law couples also have rights as married couples. Among these legal implications and rights include the following.
- Each unmarried spouse has the right to his personal possessions including property and other financial assets. However, it should be settled if both spouses have purposefully combined their assets.
- In the case wherein the common-law couple has joint assets, these should be divided equally between the two. However, exceptions can be made if there is a specific agreement stating other conditions different from the default decision.
- If you live in a state where common-law marriage is not recognized, it will usually be decided that no one will receive any spousal support from either party. Exceptions may be done if there is a prior agreement that one of them will provide financial support to another in case of a break-up.
Learning more about common-law marriage
If you have further questions about common-law marriage, you can consult the best divorce lawyers in Fairfax VA.