The Common Law Divorce: How Cohabitation Can Wreck Your Finances

When you first move in with a new partner, you might be making that decision based on convenience. If you and your partner are constantly spending the night together in two residences, it seems like a great idea to live together. Then, you’ll save money on bills and transportation. However, if you do not make good financial decisions while you are cohabitating with your partner, you could financially injure yourself if your relationship ends.

Before you and your partner decide to move in together, you should discuss finances and future plans for your relationship.

Cohabitation and common law marriage are not similar in any way. Many states do not recognize common law marriage, and the legal rights of common law marriage are not instantly given to you once a certain amount of time has passed. Most of the time, in cases of common law marriage, you are still required to prove your marriage to have any claim to the property or finances that you shared with your partner. If you have decided to cohabitate with your partner, research whether common law marriage applies to your state.

Discuss whether you and your partner want to share property, such as cars and or a home. For example, if the car you use regularly is legally owned by your partner, you may have no legal right to it if you and your partner decide to separate. If your partner legally owns the residence that you have shared, then you may not have legal rights to the possessions inside of the home once you and your partner end your relationship.

If you have separated from your partner, and he or she is refusing to give you back your property, it’s in your best interest to contact a lawyer to help you with your situation. Even if cohabitation cannot compare to marriage, a lawyer may be able to help you find a legal way to claim the rights to your property.