Must My Partner Support Me If We Are Not Legally Married?

No. The legal obligation to support a wife or husband does not apply to unmarried couples. But just as you can create property rights with an agreement, you might be able to create support rights with an agreement. The same rules regarding any requirements that property agreements be in writing are likely to apply to support agreements for support. See a lawyer who specializes in family law for help in drafting a binding agreement that suits your needs.

Does my partner have any rights or duties to my child if we are unmarried?

If you are unmarried, normally no – unless your partner is also the parent (natural or adoptive) of the child.

Must my partner support my child if we are not married?

Your partner has no legal obligation to support your child. Regardless of whether the child is living with you or not, a person who is not the child’s parent is not obligated to support the child. (Of course, a parent is always responsible for the child’s support.)

Custody and visitation rights when there is no marriage between a couple
If you break up, your partner generally will have custody and visitation rights only if the partner is also a parent of the child. Then, he or she will have the same rights to child custody or visitation a married person would have. Such rights are based on the parent-child relationship – not on whether the parents are married. But the law in this area is still developing, and many states allow judges to grant visitation rights to non-parents. Your partner may, of course gain rights or obligations by adopting your child. One may become a legal parent by adoption as well as by natural processes. Adoption is probably the only way that same-sex couples can share custody of a child.

What if I thought I was married, but the marriage wasn’t valid?

People who believe in good faith that they are legally married when they are not. In general, the law will provide remedies for such people even without an agreement between them.

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