Do Common Law Spouses Have the Same Rights as a Married Couple

Culture wise, people can come across vast differences in belief systems. Not all people believe in the institution of marriage. Their faith, psychology, finances and more such factors determine that. Throughout the centuries cultures determine the necessity of marriage. For now the law does recognize common law couples but do common law souses have the same rights as a married couple.  Let’s have a closer look.

Defining a Spouse

To understand the shift, you must be aware of the new definition of ‘spouse’. Years ago when you referred to someone as a spouse  you clearly meant, someone who is legally married to partner. Now the concept has opened up for more than one meaning. The term spouse implies a spousal relationship can mean any two people living together in marriage-like environment besides people who actually married. In order to call it a spousal relationship outside of marriage, there would be stipulations. Some states will mandate living together for a couple of years. You may also be required to have a child together. These stipulations vary from region to region.

Do Common Law Spouses Have the Same Rights as a Married Couple

Common Law Relationships

Okay now we know, common law relationships do exist. Nevertheless, do common law spouses have the same rights as a married couple? That determines if being a common law couple or married couple make any real difference, from a legal standpoint. It decides how joining of hands, separation and other dynamics work.

Rights of a Common Law Couple

The rights any type of couple is entitled to, is mostly similar throughout the country. The difference in set of rights for common law spouses and married couples are not huge anymore. At the least in family issues, you are entitled to same set of rights regardless of your choice of marriage. Custody, access, spousal and child support has become universal for all. You need to pay alimony and child support regardless of whether you married your spouse or not.  Here is a look at how common law marriage can work.

Where the Differences are Significant

The differences in rights enjoyed between the two is visible in financial matters. A major reason your friend would have not married the guy/girl, will have to do with safeguarding property. Common law couples do not part in each other properties or at least not forced to. You don’t need your spouse permission to sell the family home, when you own it.

If you are happily married, you get to automatically share the value of each other’s properties. That’s pretty much not the same in case for live-ins. This post doesn’t speak for countries such as Canada, where both have identical rights in all matters. To avoid unpleasant surprises like sharing a debt your partner has, a prenuptial agreement becomes essential. Check with your local laws to be sure on what you essentially need to know.

Why You Need to Have a Will Drawn up Now

None of us like to think about our death. Nevertheless, some thought should be given on that unfortunate event. Our family and friends should not be caught up in a crisis, when we pass away. That your family is clueless about our property is a real prospect. Your pets may not have anyone to provide for them. Your children can be out of their depths, solving your debts. To ensure their financial well being, you need to have a will drawn up these days.

Why You Need to Have a Will Drawn up Now

What exactly is a will?

A will is a document with instructions. It gives instructions on what should happen to your property, after you pass away. Through a will, you can do a lot of stuff. You can name guardians for your children. You can provide for your pet animals. You can instruct on how to pay your taxes and debts. An executive ensures your will is probated through court. Debts and taxes are paid, and any remaining property is distributed as per your wishes. Since the probate is public, you can be sure your wishes are taken care of.

Current scenario in the U.S.

As a well-to-do parent in the U.S. you are likelier to have a multitude of assets. Typically it comprises of a house at the burbs, condo at the beach and some savings. Your children won’t be aware about each one. More than half the parents do not have a will.

Wills understand you better

If you pass away without a will, the state decides who receives the assets which you once owned. The rules of the state dictate who gets your assets, which may be undesirable on account of a family conflict. A will helps you, rather the government to control the assets. Only a will can help others understand what you intend even after you passed away.

Stop with your assumptions

DIY kits are not recommended and it is not devoid of pitfalls. Do not assume that the stipulations for married and unmarried couples are one and the same. If you live with your unmarried partner and don’t leave a will, your assets may pass directly to your closest blood relatives. Even if you are married, don’t assume you will get everything.

Getting your will drawn right

Work with a lawyer to make sure, your will is structured properly. It should be valid and enforceable. When your children are minors, a guardian has to be named. Name all your assets and mention where they are. Decide who receives these assets and when. Appoint an executor to carry out instructions, word by word.