Legal rights of unmarried couples living together in Virginia

From parental to property rights

Unmarried couples living together face unique challenges, as they aren’t afforded the same protections married couples are given under Virginia law. Knowing your rights as a partner in an unmarried, cohabitating relationship is essential.

The Fairfax child custody lawyers with Select Law Partners PLLC can help you understand how to safeguard your interests and your rights in case of a breakup. If you live with your partner but aren’t married, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your rights in this unique situation. We understand your parental and property rights and will help ensure you do, too.

legal rights of unmarried couples living together

Unmarried couples in Virginia

Virginia does not recognize common law marriage. This means that you and your unmarried partner’s duties and obligations regarding parenting and property aren’t specified unless you have a written cohabitation agreement. At Select Law Partners PLLC, we can help you establish a cohabitation agreement or fight for your rights if you don’t already have one.

Parental rights for unmarried couples in Virginia

An unmarried father’s rights to custody and visitation can be difficult to secure if they live with a partner they aren’t married. Likewise, unmarried mothers may have trouble establishing their right to child support. Virginia courts always consider what’s in the best interest of the child in custody cases.

If you’re living with a romantic partner you aren’t married to, you could lose custody of your child if a judge determines your partner is unsafe or is likely to expose your child to drugs or other dangerous situations. Additionally, it may be unclear what an unmarried father’s rights are if the mother dies and he wishes to claim custody of the children.

Reaching a settlement agreement with your child’s other parent might be in your best interest and your child’s if you’re living with a romantic partner you’re not married to. A judge can review and incorporate the agreement in a court order if you and your former partner agree on child support and a custody/visitation schedule. A child custody attorney in Fairfax can help you work toward a favorable outcome and settlement in your custody matter.

Unmarried couples’ property rights in Virginia

The longer you and your unmarried partner live together, the more necessary it becomes to have a written agreement about who owns what property you share. This is especially important if you buy a house or engage in other large investments. You can consider several ownership options when buying property together, including joint tenancy and tenants-in-common.

Options for dividing property after a breakup with your unmarried partner

If both parties’ names are on a mortgage or other loan, the division of that property in the event of a breakup can get complicated. An experienced Fairfax property division lawyer can help you protect your assets and shield yourself from undue debt. Here are some of the common options you may consider when dividing property after you and your unmarried partner split:

  • Refinancing your mortgage or loan
  • Selling the property and splitting the proceeds
  • Agreeing on one person paying the loan while the other party’s name remains on it until it’s paid off
  • Allowing the property to be foreclosed on or repossessed by the bank

Both parties must agree on how to handle property division after a breakup because some of your options will have negative consequences, including adverse credit score implications. Our Fairfax family law attorneys at Select Law Partners PLLC can review your options and determine how to best protect yourself after breaking up with your partner.

Contact a Family Law Attorney at Select Law Partners PLLC for Guidance

At Select Law Partners PLLC, we know breakups can be complex. Breakups involving unmarried couples living together can be even more complicated. Call our team at (855) 541-4867 to schedule a consultation about how we can help you protect your rights after a breakup with your live-in partner.

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Matt Kurylo

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