Domestic Partnerships and the Law: What You Need to Know Before You Break Up

Posted on February 2, 2017


The following is a guest post:

Whether it’s a lack of trust or simply growing apart, there are numerous reasons why long-term relationships break down. If you have virtually no commitment with regard to housing or children, relationships break-ups are relatively simple from a legal perspective.

However, many long-term relationships unfortunately don’t have that luxury, with many unmarried couples still having children, mortgages and shared bills. In 2011, the number of married couples in America had dropped to 48% when in 1950, this number was a much higher 78%.If you and your partner think your relationship is on the brink of ending, but you’re worried about the effects it will have, here are some key points to consider before making your final decision.

Put your children first.

If you’re 100% set on splitting up, it can be an extremely difficult time especially if you’ve been together for many years. However, if you have children it’s vital to put their well-being and happiness first.

Discuss custody options with your partner in the best interest of your children. However, if this isn’t possible, consider the help and advice of an attorney who will take you through the entire legal process from start to finish.

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Review your living arrangements and settle any outstanding bills

If you’ve separated from your partner, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be comfortable still living with them. For the short-term, you and your partner need to settle impending bills and decide who’s going to remain in the property and who’s going to make alternative arrangements.

If you have relatives or a close friend to stay with that’s an ideal option or, if you’re sure the separation is final, one of you can immediately begin searching for something more permanent. However, it’s essential that your children remain in the family home to make things as ‘normal’ and comfortable for them as possible to avoid disruption.
Modify all joint bank accounts.

It’s very common for unmarried couples to have joint accounts but, when separated, this is clearly far from ideal. If you know your separation is final but don’t want to lose the assets built up in your accounts, the most sensible thing to do is modify the account so it requires both signatures to be opened. This way, you can guarantee your partner won’t have access to any of your joint funds without you consenting too.

If you’re unhappy in your relationship, no matter how long you’ve been together it’s often best to accept it and bring the relationship to an end. However, long-term relationships often come with a lot of responsibilities that must be considered from a legal perspective to ensure it’s fair for everyone. But, with the right advice and strategies, you have the power to make your separation as smooth and hassle-free as possible.