How Do I Get Divorced if We Never Got Married?

More and more people live together, have children, and share their lives without ever getting a marriage license. If you’ve been living together and are now breaking up, you may be wondering how to resolve things like child support, custody, and property division if you weren’t actually married.

New Jersey does not recognize common law marriage (in some states if you live together for a certain number of years and act as if you are married, you are considered to be legally married), so an unmarried couple has no right to seek a divorce in New Jersey courts. (Note that New Jersey has civil unions for gay couples and there is a legal procedure for ending a civil union.) That doesn’t mean there is no legal help available. The Family Practice Division of the N.J. Superior Court handles custody and child support cases for all families, married or unmarried. You are also entitled to seek legal and law enforcement help with domestic violence regardless of your marital status.

There is no legal method to obtain alimony if you have never been married. There is also no division of property and debts available in family court for unmarried couples. However, jointly owned property and debts are distributable through civil court processes if you are unable to come to an agreement with your former partner. You will both remain liable for joint titled debts . Each of you is liable for any debts in your individual names. Joint assets (such as bank accounts) technically belong to both of you and must be divided. Accounts in individual names remain with that person. Mediation can be very useful for unmarried couples and can help you reach agreements about how to divide up your assets and belongings in a way that makes sense with the least amount of conflict.

If you are unmarried and separating, DeTorres and DeGeorge LLC can help you resolve your custody, child support, and financial issues.

Divorce Guide
About DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law

DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law is a New Jersey based family law firm that has been helping New Jersey residents achieve the best possible results in their divorce for nearly 30 years. The DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law team is always ready to fight for their clients’ rights – determined to help New Jersey families overcome legal challenges from start to finish. Our legal team, with over 65 years of combined experience, provides expert guidance on all family law and divorce-related matters, including custody and parenting time, alimony and child support, equitable distribution of assets, premarital agreements, post-divorce issues, executive compensation distribution, divorces for business owners, and divorce mediation. The firm has been recognized for its dedication and expertise in the industry by multiple local and national organizations, including Super Lawyers, Law Firm 500, and the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. Rosanne DeTorres, Managing Partner, is one of 150 lawyers certified as a matrimonial law attorney.

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