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More cohabitating couples headed to court after split

In the past several decades, unmarried couples who lived together would simply part ways once the relationship was over. According to a report by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more and more couples are headed to court when they separate. In fact, the survey found that 45 percent of membership saw legal disputes rise among couples that lived together but were not married.

Since the 1990s, the number of unmarried couples between the ages of 30 to 44 who are living together has doubled, according to the Pew Research Center in 2011. Another study in 2014 found that there are more people than ever in the U.S. who haven't been married.

Some people believe that marriage is now being viewed as an event that takes place when "you've made it." In other words, your career is set, your finances are set and you know that you have found the right person to marry. However, according to the Pew Research Center, even though people are marrying later, they aren't waiting to live with someone or have a child.

One Texas attorney said that many cohabitating couples think that even though they aren't married, they still have a special legal relationship. They may presume that they are in what is known as a common-law marriage. To file for divorce, though, one half of the couple must believe he or she is in a common-law marriage and you must file for divorce before the two-year anniversary of breaking up.

The laws governing cohabitating couples are not the same as those dealing with a couple who is married. In order to understand how separation and divorce works in each case, as well as how property division will be handled, it is important to get the correct legal advice. An attorney can ensure the information you receive is right.

Source: Denton Record Chronicle | News for Denton County, Texas, "Changes in Splitsville," Lucinda Breeding, March 17, 2016

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