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Do Common Law Unions Exist in Florida?


For many Florida couples, the concept of common law marriage is a confusing topic. While individuals may believe their long-term union comes with legal protections, the state of Florida does not recognize common law marriages. So if you have been living with your romantic partner for an extended period without a formal marriage ceremony, you are not automatically granted the legal rights and responsibilities that typically come with marriage.

There are steps you can take if you want to secure legal benefits and protections without participating in a traditional marriage. Have a conversation with a knowledgeable Orlando family lawyer to explore your options.

Protections in Long-Term Relationships

When couples are proactive, they can legally protect themselves and their interests, ensuring both parties are clear on their rights and responsibilities.

  • Cohabitation agreements. If you are planning to move in with your partner, consider drafting a cohabitation agreement. These legally-binding documents outline the expectations and responsibilities of each party during the relationship and in the event of a separation.
  • Property agreements. As a couple builds a life together, many begin to acquire property, whether it’s a home, a vehicle, or other assets. When this happens, establish clear ownership agreements in order to prevent disputes about property division if the relationship ends.
  • Estate planning. Creating wills, designating beneficiaries, and looking into other legal instruments such as powers of attorney and healthcare directives legally protects an individual if their partner passes away or becomes incapacitated.
  • Parental rights. When an unmarried couple shares children, there need to be legal documents that outlines the rights of both parents and ensures the well-being of the children.

While it is normal to not want to think about hardships or breakups, it is important to be prepared. Doing so can even fortify a relationship, allowing the individuals to talk through their priorities and secure agreements that give them peace of mind.

Exiting a Long-Term Romantic Partnership

In the unfortunate event of a separation, talk to an attorney about how to draft a separation agreement. The agreement will outline the terms of the separation, including property division, support arrangements, and any other relevant details.

Mediation can be helpful when a couple chooses to end a relationship. For instance, a mediator can be particularly beneficial when there are shared assets. Each party could seek their own individual legal representation to ensure their rights are protected or the couple could choose to split the cost of a mediator.

In short, while common law marriage does not exist in Florida, individuals in long-term romantic partnerships do have options to legally protect themselves. Bring your questions to Orlando family lawyer to receive the professional legal advice you need.

Who told you that your rights are protected because you are in a common law marriage? The state of Florida does not recognize common law unions. To discuss your specific circumstance with a talented lawyer or engage the services of a mediator, talk to the family law attorneys at Donna Hung Law. Call 407-999-0099 or contact us online to get started.

By submitting this form I acknowledge that form submissions via this website do not create an attorney-client relationship, and any information I send is not protected by attorney-client privilege.

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