Two Ways Living Together Is Different From MarriageBy Moskowitz Law Group, LLC |
The term “common law marriage” is frequently used when two unmarried persons live together. But, it can be confusing to make the determination as to whether you are actually “married” when you are a part of this type of living arrangement. In states that recognize common law marriages there generally has to be some sort of outward action as husband and wife in order for to be given legal recognition as a married couple. Common examples including telling friends and family you are married, using the same last name, opening accounts or signing documents together as a married couple, or some other action that would lead an outsider to believe you are married. If you do live in a common law jurisdiction, the laws that apply to divorce will become relevant to you if your relationship ends.
In New Jersey, common law marriage used to exist, but is no longer recognized as a legally valid form of marriage. What this means is that if you are living together with your partner and decide to break up, you do not need to go through the legal system for a formal adjudication that your relationship is over. However, if you have children together you will still need to enlist the assistance of a qualified family law attorney for things like custody and visitation. You will also want to talk with an attorney for help getting the child support you and your child need. In these two examples, the laws that govern divorce would come into play, at least as far as your children are concerned.
What this means for New Jersey residents is that there is also no chance of getting financial support (alimony) when an unmarried couple calls it quits. This was not always the case, but after 2010 the laws changed and seeking alimony is not something unmarried persons do at the end of their relationship. You will also not need to have a Court decide who gets the house, and who pays what debts. For these reasons, it is smart to keep your assets and liabilities separate if you are living together without the formality of getting married. When your things are separated, it is much easier to determine what belongs to whom, and to pack up the boxes if the relationship does not go the distance. For help sorting out what laws apply and what laws do not apply, to your union, call one of our knowledgeable family law attorneys today.
For more information about living together and how it is different from marriage and the need for divorce, call a knowledgeable family law attorney for answers to your questions. We can be reached online here. Call today to schedule an appointment.