Most of our Kansas readers know that couples going through a divorce will have to face quite a few potentially complicated legal issues during that process. However, what some people may not realize is that unmarried couples can find themselves dealing with difficult family law issues as well.
If an unmarried couple is cohabitating, and then they break up, one of the most common legal issues is a property dispute. This is especially true if the unmarried couple own real estate together.
The nature of that joint ownership will be crucial to resolving any potential issues. In a divorce, the couple may have an equal interest in the property. But, in a cohabitation scenario, there may be differing interests or levels of investment in the property.
When a relationship between an unmarried couple produces children, several legal issues will likely present themselves. Primarily, the child that is born is not under a legal presumption to be the child of the purported father. Paternity may need to be established.
Child custody and child support are probably the most contentious issues that an unmarried couple will encounter. But, these issues are oftentimes approached in a similar manner as it is for married couples who are divorcing. For custody issues, as always, the "best interests of the child" standard will determine the ultimate decision of the court, assuming the parties cannot reach an agreement on their own. For child support, the income of both people involved in the relationship will be examined.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Marriage vs. Cohabitation," accessed on Dec. 3, 2016