Unmarried Couples and Separation



If you are living with a partner, rather than being legally married, learn about unmarried couples and separation here! First, I'll speak about couples with no children, scroll down to see the section on children.

Dividing Property

There are lots of laws about property, and every case will be different, so make sure you ask for legal help with your case, using the Legal Match link here. You'll be able to locate qualified attorneys in your area. GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY SOMEONE WHO KNOWS LAW!! Need a Family Lawyer? In the US, even married couples have potential issues when death or divorce take place (and property will be split or change hands), so of course, there are more issues for those who are unmarried.

Depending on where you live, there is paperwork called a Separation Agreement, CIS--Case Information Statement, or a Property Settlement Agreement. This is the document that says what is person is keeping after a breakup, and I believe the parenting schedule is included in this document. So, if you have property or children, you must file this form in your county.

If a couple had their finances and paperwork together, they may have already:

  • Decided to purchase property together, signing paperwork for joint tenancy. This means that the property will be shared equally, and will automatically pass to the other in the event of death.


  • Decided to purchase property together, signing paperwork for tenants-in-common. This means that each person owns a certain percentage, and that the couples' wills will determine what each gets should death or certain events occur.

Unmarried Couples and Insurance, Wills, Living Wills, Paperwork, etc...

If you have filed any paperwork concerning your soon-to-be-ex, please make sure you change it if you desire to put your money with someone else after your separation/divorce.



Unmarried Couples and Children

Establishing Paternity

Whether you have been a couple a long time, or not, if one parent is requesting child support from the father, then paternity will most likely be ordered by the court in your county.

If you have been "acting" as the father to a child who loves you, but are uncertain if you are actually the father, you can obtain a DNA test for paternity out of curiousity. Be warned, though, that once you have established yourself as the father, even if you are not, you may not be able to change your obligations to the child. Remember, every state has it's own laws--check them for yourself.

How to Create an Effective Custody Agreement

  • Sit down with your ex and discuss things civilly. When do you each have the children now? Do you wish to keep things the same? Do some things have to change because of the new living arrangement? Do some things have to change because of changes to allow one party to work?

  • Some couples really do have 50-50 parenting arrangements, but it is definitely the minority, although many men are stepping up to doing more to parent. No one ever gets what he/she wants in a divorce, both parties must compromise a lot!

  • Make a schedule that would work for both parties and the children. If you think that scheduling is problematic, you can take the guesswork out of it using Our Family Wizard. This is a program that lets both parents, children, and professionals login to use the parenting schedule and record information that is useful for all the parties.
    Our Family Wizard helps with parenting schedules


If speaking with your ex is not working, mediation may be a welcome way to resolve your differences.

Child Visitation Plans

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