Families in Texas come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not uncommon for individuals to stay together for many years without ever tying the knot. Even though these relationships aren’t recognized by the state in the same exact way marriage is, they behave like a marriage in many ways. Unmarried couples can raise children together, accumulate other assets and, just like their married counterparts, go through a split.
When a married couple looks to end their relationship Texas law provides a framework for those individuals to divide property and move forward into the next phase of their lives. The same structure doesn’t exist for unmarried couples, even though they have many of the same issues to settle.
Furthermore, studies show that marriage rates are at a low point and many children are being raised by unwed parents. Regardless of a person’s reasons whether or not they will get married, they still deserve to end their relationship in a way that is orderly.
By consulting with a trustworthy family law attorney, unmarried long-term couples can work through the process of splitting assets and resolving other important aspects of their relationship. Certainly, the process may be more complicated at times, but a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached if both parties work together.
While some issues, such as property division, may not be well defined by family law for unmarried couples, the laws surrounding child custody and support may be a bit clearer. Parents who are not the primary custodian of children often pay child support and can sometimes obtain custody or visitation rights. Despite some more clarity in this respect, making custody and support arrangements can be an emotional and complicated process without the right help.
Source: The New York Observer, “No Divorce Is the New Divorce: Moms and Dads Navigate Messy Breakups in Marriage-less World,” Rose Surnow, March 19, 2013
Our firm has helped Texas residents resolve their family law questions. To find out more, please see our Austin family law page.