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Living together without being married?

At some point in their lives, almost half of adults in the United States have lived with a partner in a romantic relationship without being married. A 2012 study in revealed that one in 15 couples were in live-in relationships. The legal ramifications of not having a legal marriage are a growing part of family law.

One of the bigger issues is home ownership. The house belongs to whoever is on the deed. It doesn't matter who makes the payments. The equity belongs to the owner of record. Therefore, it is best to buy the house and put in both names with rights of survivorship so it passes to the other partner in the event of death. Another important thing to consider is a will. Without one a surviving partner is entitled to nothing. Unmarried couples with assets of over $5 million needs to be careful of estate tax issues that don't apply to married couples.

There's also the issue of medical emergencies, because unmarried couples don't have the right to receive information or make decisions for each other. This problem can be solved with an advanced health care directive. They are simple to create and the county health department or a hospital has the forms. The forms are also available online. Something that may be of special interest to Texas readers is the recognition of common law marriages. Texas is one of 15 states that do allow couples to consider themselves married if they meet certain criteria.

Financial issues in relationships can be complicated if the couple isn't married. Couples may want to consult with a family law attorney when they make the decision to move in together. An attorney can help with the paperwork that will make it easier should the relationship end or one of the partners becomes ill.

Source: MSN , "Moving in together? 5 tips", May 08, 2013

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