How To Protect Your Rights In A Common Law Marriage?

Common law marriages are rather an archaic form of marriage and are only recognized in a handful of states in America. Unlike a normal marriage, you do not need to hold a ceremony or buy a marriage license. However, this also means you do not have the same legal rights and protections as traditional marriage does. 

However, do not be saddened as there is still a way you can protect your rights during and after the marriage. To know more about common law in ct and draft the perfect agreement, contact a lawyer today. 

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legally signed contract between two people who live together (same-sex or heterosexual). The agreement is much like a prenuptial agreement and allows individuals to decide what happens to their properties and assets in the case they should separate. It also includes mutual financial support, child custody, and other important issues in a marriage. 

How does a cohabitation agreement protect your rights?

Couples married under common law are generally advised to draw up a cohabitation agreement. Common-law marriages do not require going through a formal marriage ceremony or buying a marriage license. Since it is different from a real wedding, it lacks the various rights and protections offered to married couples. 

For example, married couples have certain legal obligations to each other, such as child support, alimony, division of assets and properties, etc. However, a couple married under common law does not have these obligations, meaning one spouse can legally refuse to pay alimony or child support if they break up. 

Without a cohabitation agreement, one spouse may even claim that they were never legally married in the first place to avoid domestic financial obligations. With a legal, signed document in place, neither spouse can turn their back away from their responsibilities after the breakup. 

Does your partner need to sign the cohabitation agreement?

Yes. The cohabitation agreement must contain both of your signatures so that the judge knows you agreed to it. Other features of a valid agreement are as follows. 

  • Both of you should enter the agreement on your will and without coercion.
  • The agreement should be set out in the form of a deed.
  • The agreement should be updated with any significant life changes, such as the birth of a child. 

Choosing to cohabit with your partner and get married under common law rather than having a ceremony can be a complicated process. It is only natural for you to worry about your rights when you are not even buying a marriage license. However, common-law couples are still considered married, and there are ways you can protect yourself. 

Contact an attorney to explore your legal options.