Family Law Attorneys Representing the Rights Of Unmarried Couples
A New Jersey couple cannot acquire marital rights and responsibilities by simply living together for a particular period of time. For a couple to be legally married in New Jersey, they must obtain a valid marriage license and have a ceremony performed by an authorized person, institution, or organization to solemnize the marriage.
Unmarried partners are treated differently from spouses in a number of significant ways. This can create a number of challenges, as the laws that apply to divorcing couples do not apply to unmarried couples when they break up. As a result, working out issues of support, child custody and property division can be very complex.
At Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP, our attorneys represent unmarried couples and parents throughout New Jersey. We know how to best protect your rights and advocate for you in these situations, whether in preparing cohabitation agreements or assisting couples who are separating.
Palimony and Division Of Property for Unmarried Couples
Traditional divorce law does not apply to unmarried couples when they separate. For example, unmarried couples cannot seek financial support under the same legal framework that provides for a divorcing spouse to ask for alimony. Instead, an individual in a nonmarital relationship may request “palimony” from his or her long-time partner once the relationship between them comes to an end. The law regarding palimony in New Jersey has changed through the years. Our legislature addressed the issue of palimony as recently as 2010, and the courts of this state currently continue to decide issues raised by unmarried couples.
Ordinarily, the principle of “equitable distribution” of property guides divorce cases. There are no specific set of factors to consider when dividing property between unmarried partners, however. Consequently, outcomes can be unpredictable, which is why knowledgeable and experienced attorneys are important to have on your side.
Contact Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP
If you are contemplating cohabitation without getting married, or if your nonmarital relationship has ended or is in the process of ending, our family law attorneys in Somerset County will evaluate the facts of your situation and help you determine your rights and obligations. Call 908-753-3833 or complete our online contact form to schedule an appointment.