Unwed Relationships

Marital law provides couples with hundreds of automatic rights in a number of areas, including children, property and personal issues. Common law marriages, which are relationships in which a couple lives together exclusively as husband and wife for a significant length of time, are not recognized in the State of New Jersey. Therefore, unwed couples are not protected to the same extent as their married counterparts.

The differences between married and unwed relationships are many and those differences affect a variety of areas of the couple’s life. For example, married couples with children have certain custodial rights even after the marriage ends, and these custodial rights are usually preferred over unmarried couples when it comes to adopting. Also, property acquired during a marriage is protected by marital and family laws; not necessarily the case with property acquired by unmarried cohabitants. Likewise, hospital visitations and medical decisions are automatic for married couples but may not be protected areas for unmarried couples.

Unwed couples can acquire certain rights, namely those relating to financial or medical issues, by specifying such rights in a written contract. For instance, distribution of property upon the termination of the relationship can be specified in a contract, as can the right to make medical decisions for each other. Additionally, it is of importance to address inheritance issues in a will since intestate laws do not apply to unwed relationships.

Because the rights denied to unwed couples are so many and the consequences of such relationships are so far-reaching, it may be necessary to utilize the services of an experienced family law attorney. If you are involved in an unwed relationship, contact the Rotolo Karch Law attorneys for advice. Protect your rights. Call Rotolo Karch Law today.

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Victor A. Rotolo has been included on the List of New Jersey Super Lawyers in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, marking his twelfth year of inclusion on this list. The list of New Jersey Super Lawyers is generated by the Thomson Reuters organization which employs the following methodology and set of standards to compile the list each year. Super Lawyers Selection Methodology [No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court.]

Certified Civil Trial Attorney Badge

Victor A. Rotolo is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney.

"A certified attorney is more than just an attorney who specializes in a particular area of law. A New Jersey attorney who is certified by the Supreme Court as a civil trial attorney must have:

  • been a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for over 5 years
  • demonstrated a substantial level of experience in civil trial law
  • been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work
  • taken and passed a written examination in civil trial law."

Source: Supreme Court of New Jersey, Board on Attorney Certification, Brochure on Certified Civil Trial Attorney. See Rule 1:39: Specialty Certification of Attorneys.

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