Not Married? Your Property Rights May Be Up in the Air If You Separate

There are plenty of reasons to decide not to tie the knot. Many couples simply feel that a piece of paper or the pronouncement of a judge has little to do with their commitment. However, it’s important to understand that unmarried couples can face some significant issues when it comes to property rights if you choose to split up. Property division lawyers in Chicago can help you understand your rights and options here.

The Situation You Face

You and your significant other decide that you would like to join your lives together. You move in together. Perhaps you both take on a share of the bills – the mortgage, utility bills and the like. You might even open a joint bank account together, or even take out a loan together. You may have children with one another. All of that is fine, at least until one party decides that it is time to end the relationship.

What becomes of your situation then? Because you are not married, you have no right to property in the other person’s name. You may have helped your significant other pay on a home mortgage for 10 or 15 years, but because your name is not on the mortgage and you are not married, you have no rights to that property at all.

No Common Law in Illinois

Part of the problem is this – the state of Illinois has disallowed common law marriage since 1905. What that means is simple. No matter how long you have lived with someone, no matter what you call your relationship with that individual, and no matter how much or how little you comingle your finances, the state of Illinois does not recognize you as a married couple. That means you do not enjoy the same property rights that a married couple would. Put simply, if the other person’s name is on an asset, that asset belongs to them, no matter who paid for it.

The Need for Legal Help

As an unmarried couple, there are options open to you. However, you need to take action now, before any potential split in the relationship. Working with property division lawyers in Chicago allows you to draw up binding legal agreements that spell out who has rights to which assets within your relationship, even if you never tie the knot.

Ready to take the next step? Contact the Law Offices of Michael C. Craven for free consultation.

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