Did My Failed Relationship Become An Unwanted Common-Law Marriage?

Breaking up a relationship before it leads to marriage is supposed to be easy from a legal standpoint. Each person goes their separate ways without having to sign any paperwork, leaving no record of your relationship. You may not be aware that your relationships can actually become common-law marriages under the right circumstances. 16 states acknowledge common-law marriages based on factors such as the length of the relationship, living together, and filing joint tax returns. If you have started to consider ending your current relationship, you may want to look into if you need a lawyer.

You Live With Your Partner

Even though you never signed a marriage certificate, the combination of living with a girlfriend or boyfriend and presenting yourselves as if you are a married can create an unwanted common-law marriage. The state of New Hampshire recognizes common-law marriages when you have lived with a person for 3 years and people have the impression that the two of you are married. This can happen by telling people you are married even though you believe it is not legally true, or due to the overall appearance of your relationship to others.

You File Joint Tax Returns

There are some significant benefits to filing your income taxes jointly with your partner, but doing so will unintentionally create an unwanted common-law marriage. You may not even realize it happened, especially if your partner filled out the paperwork and you signed it without reading the details. Dig up your previous tax returns to verify if you were filing jointly or separately.

You Are Planning A Wedding

If you are in the process of planning you and your partner's wedding, even if there has not been a formal engagement, it may be enough to qualify as a common-law marriage depending on state laws. A lawyer will be able to tell you if this has unknowingly created a common-law marriage.

You Have A Child Together

Having a child may or may not qualify your relationship as a common-law marriage according to your state, but it will definitely make the break up much more complicated. If you cannot agree on custody arrangements then you will need legal help to assist the two of you. In this situation, common-law marriage may help give you the necessary edge to acquire custody of your child if that is what you desire.

If you feel like your failed relationship has turned into an unwanted common-law marriage, seek legal help from a place like Karp Law Offices on how to end it.