Unmarried Messy Breakups! What Do I do?
What Happens When an Unmarried Couple Breaks Up to Everything they Share Together?
Ever wonder what happens to the kids, your property, all your assets, your right to alimony etc.?
If you are not married and living with your partner consider what may happen in the event of a break up. Unmarried breakups can get even messier than divorce because marital or family law does not apply to unwed couples who split.
For estate planning purposes, the best way for unmarried couples to protect themselves is to draw up a “living-together agreement,” “The agreement should include who is responsible for what and who gets what in the event of a breakup.
While the specific rules differ slightly from state to state, the basic legal principles that regulate the property rights of unmarried couples can be summed up as follows:
1. What happens to my property?
Each unmarried partner is presumed to own his or her own property and debts unless you’ve deliberately combined your assets by opening a joint account or putting both names on a deed to your home. If an unmarried couple’s assets are jointly owned the assets are considered to be owned in equal 50-50 shares. The exception would be if there is proof of a different agreement or, in some instances, where one partner clearly made a greater contribution and can prove it. In regards to the property aspects of your dispute they will be handled by the ordinary business section of your state’s civil courts, just as though you were going through a business dissolution. So you aren’t entitled to any special mediation services or expedited hearings, which are common in divorce court, unless you have child custody or child support conflicts. These will most often be handled by the family law division of your local court.
2. Am I entitled to alimony?
The fact that one of you supported the other one during your relationship or that you signed wills providing for each other upon death generally is irrelevant to a claim for support unless you can prove that a contract to provide support after separation existed. No alimony for you!
3. What happens to our kids when we break up?
In regards to jointly raising children and both being legal parents, you normally have the opportunity to work out a joint agreement without court intervention. But if you end up in court, the issues of custody, visitation, and child support will be handled just as they are for married couples. If only one of you is the legal parent because the other parent did not adopt the child, in most states the non-legal parent will have no right to future custody or visitation of the child, and will have no obligation to support the child.
While we all want to believe love lasts forever a breakup can be messy without carefully considering all the legal aspects. Consult an attorney today. Call Herman Jimerson at 314-862-0069