If You Want Rights, Get Married!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I received an inquiry from a potential client who had been living with a man in a “marriage like” relationship for more than 20 years.  They had two children and lived in a nice house in Palm Beach Gardens.  From  outside, they appeared to be a happily married couple.  However, the relationship tanked when the “husband” met someone new and asked the “wife” to make “other arrangements”.  She came to me to ask what her rights are.

Unfortunately, the “husband” and the “wife” were not; further, there is no common law marriage in Florida. Additionally, there was no written cohabitation agreement for unmarried people living together long term.  There was no legal obligation for the man to voluntarily continue to support her or children that are over the age of majority.  In short, this woman was you know what.

For those among you who want legal rights, it is best to have a legal marriage.  That legal entity protects a partner from the scenario above.  If marriage is not possible, then a written cohabitation agreement is the only other alternative for protection.  For more information about this or other topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.

No palimony, no common law marriage in the State of Florida.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I often get inquiries from women who have spent the greater part of 15 to 20 living together in the relationship, usually with a very wealthy man.  The relationship ends, and the women come  to me to find out what their rights are.

Unfortunately, I have to be the bearer of bad news.  In the State of Florida, unlike California and some other states, there is no palimony law.  That means that the client has “WASTED” 15 to 20 of the best years of her life, with no legal recourse after the relationship ends.  “BUT WE LIVED AS HUSBAND AND WIFE”, they say.  “EVERYONE THOUGHT WE WERE MARRIED”  they say.  They weren’t!  At least under the law. 

In New York State, if you hold yourselves out to the public as husband and wife for 7 years, it is as good as a marriage license under New York law.  BUT NOT HERE IN FLORIDA!  Marriage laws are specific to each individual state.  What applies in New York or California, does not always apply in Florida.

The way around this is to have a CO HABITATION AGREEMENT which provides rights by contract between the parties.  That contract gives rights.  Without one, it is too bad so sad.  And yes, it is sad to spend that much time in a relationship with nothing to show for it.  That is why I recommend marriage in the State of Florida, or at the least, have a co habitation agreement.  For more information about this or other topics in family law, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.