If you are currently living with or considering moving in with your partner without being married, it is crucial to seek legal advice and understand your rights and obligations. Why?
Living together unmarried can have a lot of legal implications. For example, what happens when the couple decides to separate? This blog post will discuss all of the possible legal ramifications that may arise in such a situation. It is important to be aware of these consequences before making the decision to cohabitate.
Cohabitation is defined as two people living together in a sexual relationship without being married. In some states, cohabitation may also be referred to as “common law marriage.” However, in New York, a couple cannot simply live together for a certain period of time and acquire marital rights. Although cohabitation is not technically a marriage, it can have many of the same legal implications as a traditional marriage.
Factors To Consider
There are a few key things to keep in mind if you are living with your partner without being married.
Access to Protections
To start, it is important to realize that you will not have the same rights and protections as a married couple. For example, if you live together and then decide to separate, there is no such thing as a “common law divorce.” You will not be able to divide property or receive spousal support in the same way as a married couple.
Having access to these legal processes is critical, as it can help make sure that each partner receives what they need during separation.
Rights To The Estate
If you are cohabitating and one partner dies, the surviving partner will not have the same inheritance rights as a spouse. In most states, the intestacy laws—which dictate who inherits property in the absence of a will—do not recognize cohabitating partners. This means that, unless you have specifically written a will leaving your property to your partner, he or she will not inherit anything from you if you die.
This can have a devastating impact on the surviving partner, as they may continue to inhabit the space of their passed loved one, but will not necessarily have legal ownership or the ability to continue living there.
Custody Of Children
If you have children together but are not married, you may not have the same legal rights as a married father or mother. For example, in some states, unwed fathers do not have automatic parental rights and may need to go through a legal process to establish them.
In New York, a father does not have rights until paternity is established. For an unmarried father, there are two routes to establish paternity. They can either sign a voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or file a court petition.
Cohabitation can also impact your ability to receive certain government benefits. For example, if you are receiving financial assistance from the government, they may require that you live apart from your partner in order to continue receiving benefits.
Furthermore, cohabitation can lead to less accumulated wealth over time. As the couple will likely have fewer monetary investments than a married couple.
Finally, cohabitation can also have tax implications. For example, you cannot file for taxes jointly with your cohabitating partner. This means that you may be ineligible for certain tax deductions and credits. Whereas married couples and established parents will have the opportunity to receive state and federal tax benefits.
You can claim a partner as a dependent; however, there are specific stipulations and guidelines that must be met to do so.
Family Law Attorneys in New York
Separating from your long-term live-in partner can be a complex situation to navigate. If you are cohabitating with your significant other or are considering to, consider the legal implications. There are steps you can take to safeguard both you and your partner’s futures.
To schedule a consultation, call us at (585) 449-4987 or visit us online.