How to “divorce” when you’re not legally married

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2021 | Divorce, Family Law |

Marriage rates are on the decline across the country, but that doesn’t mean New Jersey residents have stopped dating. Even if it doesn’t happen between married couples, “divorce” still happens when unmarried partners who have entangled their lives break up.

What are some of the key differences?

Divorce entitles you to financial compensation, division of assets and properties as well as alimony payments. However, a breakup doesn’t entitle you to those things regardless of how long you were dating.

If you’re not married, you generally leave with what you brought to the relationship or anything that you bought or earned during your time together. You’re also not entitled to any property that doesn’t clearly have your name on it.

Anything that was owned by both parties, like a house that they bought together, would automatically be divided 50/50. Usually, that means the couple would have to work out on their own who got what, or sell the property and split the profits.

How does parenting work between unmarried couples?

Splitting custody and arranging child support is treated the same way it would be for married couples. However, if only one parent’s name is on the birth certificate, then that makes things even more complicated.

If one parent isn’t listed as a legal parent, then they have no obligation to support the child, so you couldn’t sue them for child support. This also means that they don’t get any rights to visit the child or have a part in raising them.

How do I protect myself in the event of a breakup with a long-term partner?

It’s important to take care of yourself when entering a partnership with someone else, regardless of getting married or not. Couples should communicate thoroughly to ensure each one is protected in the event of a split.



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