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.