Unmarried Couples

More and more long-term, committed romantic partners are choosing not to marry.  It’s important to know the impact this has on your rights and responsibilities to each other– including in the event that you break-up.  There are a range of reasons that couples choose not to marry, including financial, philosophical, political, and religious beliefs. Whatever the reasons, there is a process that can help protect clients in the future.

Common Law Marriage

Common law marriage is a legal concept where romantic partners who live together for a certain period of time become legally married even though they never have a formal ceremony or get a marriage license.  In Connecticut, there is no such thing as common law marriage.

What that means is, no matter how long a couple is together, they never acquire rights to property division or alimony and spousal support that exist when married people divorce.

This presents a variety of issues unique to cohabitating couples who do not have the full rights of marriage.

Child Support & Custody

The courts will be there to assist unmarried couples with issues involving children. Child custody and child support are among the major concerns.

Same Sex Partners With Childen

It’s critical that unmarried partners with children not biologically related to both parents do a stepparent adoption.  This disproportionally impacts same sex couples.  In Connecticut, this is the only way to get both parents full legal rights and responsibilities to and for their kids.

Financial Rights

Unlike married partners, Connecticut unmarried couples are not afforded the same rights. It is essential that couples who live together or share property and children take affirmative legal steps to protect themselves. They can memorialize their intent with respect to properties and finances via a cohabitation agreement.

If they do not take the steps, these partners can be left without legal remedies or inadequate legal remedies. Freed Marcroft’s family law attorneys are familiar with protecting the rights of unmarried couples in Connecticut. Our clients receive the utmost attention to detail to ensure their future happiness.

Cohabitation Agreements

At Freed Marcroft, we guide unmarried couples through the process making sure their intentions are legally memorialized.

Connecticut unmarried couples, regardless of sexual orientation or relationship length, are classified as unrelated individuals in the eyes of the law.  There is no common law marriage in Connecticut, so regardless of how long a couple has lived together, the courts do not recognize their relationship as a legal one.

A formal cohabitation agreement, at the outset or after you have moved in together, is the best way to protect yourself.  It can address everything from distribution of property to the sharing of expenses and debts.

In addition, unless proper planning is done, if one person dies, the survivor is not entitled to the legal rights and benefits afforded to married spouses.  This means that the estate planning and medical documents that are essential for everyone are particularly important for unmarried couples.

If the Long Term Relationship Ends

Freed Marcroft’s attorneys also advise clients regarding their legal rights if their relationship breaks down.

With respect to financials and property, when a cohabitation agreement was in place, we assist clients in working implementing that agreement.  If there was not a cohabitation agreement, we assist clients in determining whether there is another available theory that would provide them with a legal remedy.

With respect to couples with children, decisions surrounding child custody are commonly the most emotional aspects of a divorce.  Our lawyers limit their practice to family law, and we are dedicated to determining the optimal outcome for custody agreements and child support.

Life is unpredictable and no matter whether you are married or unmarried, with or without children, there is no better safeguard than being informed and preparing yourself as best as possible for the unexpected.

The attorneys at Freed Marcroft guide select clients and families through the legal issues relevant to unmarried couples and can help you plan for your future together and apart.  To discuss our helping you, contact us today either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.