A common-law marriage is an informal union that is not sanctioned by a license or solemnized by an officiant. Although the requirements for a common-law marriage vary from state to state, typically, couples must live together for a certain length of time and present themselves to friends and family as husband and wife. So why do you need a divorce lawyer if you're in a common-law marriage? Here are several reasons:
1. To Make Sure Your Property is Divided Fairly
If you've accumulated any property during your relationship, whether it's a house, a car, or just some furniture, it's important to make sure that it's divided fairly between you and your former partner. A divorce lawyer can help you determine who owns what and make sure that the split is as equitable as possible.
2. Sanctioned by the State
Although common-law marriages are not sanctioned by the state, in some cases, it may be beneficial to have your relationship recognized by the state.
For example, if you want to file joint taxes or get health insurance through your spouse's job, you will need to be able to prove that you are in a common-law marriage. A divorce lawyer can help you with this process.
3. Establishing Parental Rights
If you have children with your common-law spouse and later decide to get divorced, you will need to establish parental rights. This can be done through DNA testing or other means. A divorce lawyer can help you with this process so that all legalities are taken care of and there is no confusion about who has what rights when it comes to your children.
4. Alimony and Child Support
In some states, alimony and child support laws apply to couples in common-law marriages. This means that if you decide to get divorced, you may be entitled to receive financial support from your ex-spouse. A divorce lawyer can help you figure out what you may be entitled to and negotiate an agreement on your behalf.
5. To Ensure That All of the Paperwork is Completed Correctly
Divorce can be complicated, and even couples who have decided to end their relationship amicably can benefit from having a lawyer handle the paperwork.
A divorce lawyer can make sure that all of the necessary paperwork is filed with the court and that everything is completed correctly, saving you time, stress, and money in the long run.
Although hiring a lawyer may seem like an unnecessary expense, it is important to keep in mind that lawyers know all the ins and outs of the divorce process. They will also be able to provide invaluable guidance when it comes time to make decisions about things like child custody, visitation schedules, and property division. Consult a divorce lawyer such as Gomez May LLP today for a smooth dissolution of a common-law marriage.