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The Rights of Unmarried Couples in Florida

Many couples eventually decide to marry at some point in their relationship, especially including now same-sex couples who may now marry nationwide. However, some couples decide not to legally marry, for a variety of reasons. Unmarried couples still have very limited legal rights in Florida. The exception concerns unmarried couples and their children; the law provides many protections in that area.

Property Rights

The property rights of married spouses are codified in law, and they may also be specified in other documents such as prenuptial agreements. Couples who are not married, but cohabitate, do not have statutory rights to each other’s property, therefore it is a good idea to draw up a property agreement with the help of an attorney. The longer you live together, the more property you may accumulate, and the more necessary an agreement becomes. Without an agreement, there is no guarantee that you will be able to claim anything from the relationship as your own, as title alone will control.

Interestingly, unmarried Floridians may now find it far easier to conduct business like estate planning. In April 2016, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill repealing Florida’s 148-year old law against cohabitation between people of the opposite sex.

Child Support, Timesharing and Custody Questions

Child support, timesharing and custody issues are big concerns of unmarried couples; as one might imagine, any good parent wants a fair share of time with his children, regardless of whether they are married. The question of child custody tends to fall disproportionately on fathers in unmarried couples, rightly or wrongly, since the mother is granted custody from birth, while an unmarried father has limited rights until paternity is established by a Court. Florida has a Putative Father Registry, and to be counted as the child’s legal father, a man must provide his relevant information, but even signing a birth certificate as the father does not conclusively establish an unmarried fathers rights.

Regardless of custody, a child has an absolute right to support from both parents. If you have acknowledged paternity, you are liable for child support. However, such a proceeding usually happens along the same lines as it would for a married couple; once your paternity is acknowledged, there is no relevant difference under Florida law. You are the child’s parent and a judge will set a support amount based on your ability to pay. Timesharing is separate from child support and simply because you see or don’t see your child, support is still due.

Get An Attorney On Your Side

Whether dealing with property or children’s custody issues, married or unmarried, having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can help the process run smoothly. The zealous Orlando family lawyers at the firm of Goodblatt · Leo are happy to lend their experience and know-how to getting you a fair and equitable result. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.

GOODBLATT · LEO is located and serves clients in and around Orlando, FL.

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