Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.
815-981-4859
Blog

Unmarried couples, cohabitation and family law issues

Many couples today have made the choice to opt out of marriage. They still function like a married couple in many ways, but have never signed an official marriage document. This is a personal decision, and no doubt many of the couples involved have their reasons. However, it's important to remember that there are legal protections that come only with marriage.

Some of these protections only become apparent if or when one partner dies, or the couple decides to split up. Illinois marital property laws apply only to married couples. When a married couple decides to divorce, they must divide their marital property in a way that is considered equitable, or fair, under Illinois law. A court may even order one ex-spouse to pay alimony to the other, if that is the best way to bring about a fair division.

By contrast, a person in an unmarried, cohabitation relationship has few legal property protections when the relationship ends. Unlike some states, Illinois does not have a common-law marriage statute. (However, it may recognize a common-law marriage established in another state.) So, even in cases where the couple has lived together for many years in Illinois, the partners do not have a legal right to demand fair distribution of their household property.

Illinois does recognize legally-created domestic partnerships. These can help give people some property protections in case the relationship later ends. Some couples even work up contracts, something like a prenuptial contract, which outlines the distribution of property at the end of their relationship. However, these contracts are often ruled invalid.

People who have decided to cohabitate without getting married can talk to a family law attorney about their legal options to protect themselves.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Top 3 Divorce Lawyers in Rockford
EMAIL US FOR A RESPONSE

Have a legal question?
Need help from an attorney?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C. 728 North Court Street, Suite B Rockford, IL 61103 Phone: 815-981-4859 Fax: 815-997-5129 Rockford Law Office Map