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Making Medical and Financial Decisions for Your Unmarried Partner

If you ever become unable to make your own health care decisions or manage your own finances—because of injury, serious illness, or advanced age—you probably want your partner to step in and take care...

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Debt and Credit Issues for Unmarried Couples

All couples benefit from clearly agreeing who will pay for the rent, car installments, or groceries. When you live together, you must also decide whether to pool your money and the property you buy...

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Credit Discrimination Against Unmarried Couples

A credit grantor generally will provide credit to anyone who is a good financial risk. A person with no apparent source of income, with a history of long periods of unemployment, who regularly pays...

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Sharing Your Last Name With Your Unmarried Partner

Normally, each partner in an unmarried couple keeps his or her own last name. It’s easy, legal, and creates few, if any, practical problems. Occasionally, however, members of an unmarried couple want...

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Tax Issues for Unmarried Couples

In most cases, being unmarried does not negatively affect the amount of taxes you pay. In fact, some unmarried couples pay less in federal income taxes than do married couples. In addition, some...

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Social Security Benefits for Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples that live together are often at a disadvantage when it comes to Social Security benefits—especially if one partner stays at home caring for children or running the household....

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Retirement Plans of Unmarried Couples

For many people, the bulk of their wealth when they retire will be sitting in one or more retirement plans. These valuable assets provide security to the retiring worker, of course, and can also...

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How Living With an Unmarried Partner Affects Your Public Benefits

People who receive public benefits often worry that they will be cut off if their partner moves in. If you receive benefits based on your financial condition and a physical or mental condition—aid to...

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Housing Discrimination Against Unmarried Couples

Most landlords are interested in your money, not your morals. As long as you pay rent on time, keep the rental clean, and don’t fight with the neighbors, they don’t care in which beds you sleep. There...

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When Unmarried Couples Move Into An Apartment or Rental Home Together

If one of you is renting a house or apartment, and your partner plans to move in, it's  essential that you are clear as to whether you are both renting the place as cotenants, or whether you are the...

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Contract for Unequal Ownership of a House by an Unmarried Couple

If one partner contributes substantially more to the down payment on a house than the other, that person may want to own more than half of the property. As with the Contract for Equal Ownership of a...

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Agreement for One Person to Move Into the Other's House and Become a Co-Owner

Sometimes when an unmarried couple decides to live together, one partner already owns a house and the other partner moves in. When this happens, issues of property ownership and how to deal with...

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May House Sellers Discriminate Against Unmarried Homebuyers?

Few, if any, people selling a house will care about your marital status. But if a seller does refuse to sell to you simply because you aren’t married, you may have little or no legal recourse in most...

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How Unmarried Couples Can Co-Own or Take Title to a Home

When you buy a house with your partner, you must decide how you will own the property, or "take title.” Since in this context “title” is a synonym for “ownership,” your decision has huge and lasting...

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Contract for Equal Ownership of a House by an Unmarried Couple

Any unmarried couple that plans to jointly own a house or other real property should prepare a written contract. When it comes to an investment of this size, it’s just plain nuts to try and wing it...

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How to Establish Paternity

Paternity simply means “the state of being a father.” When an unmarried couple has a child, it’s essential that the father’s paternity be established as soon as possible after the baby is born. This...

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Legitimacy of Children Born to Unmarried Parents

Most states and the federal government have moved away from using the words “legitimate” and “illegitimate” in differentiating between children whose parents are married or not married. Some states...

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Unmarried Couples and Adoption

In addition to, or instead of, having your own biological child, you and your partner may want to adopt a child. Adoption is a court procedure by which an adult legally becomes the parent of someone...

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Inheritance and Other Legal Rights of Children of Unmarried Parents

Children of unmarried parents have most of the same legal rights as children of married parents. Inheritance Rights of a Child of Unmarried Parents You can leave your property to anyone you want in a...

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How Living Together Affects Custody of Children From a Prior Marriage

If you and your former spouse agree on custody, the court will normally ratify your agreement without considering the details of how you lead your life. A judge won’t know (or necessarily ask) whether...

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How Living Together Affects a Parent's Visitation Rights

If a court grants you (or your former spouse) custody of the children, the other parent (or you) will be given the right to visit, unless the court believes that the noncustodial parent’s physical...

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How Living Together Affects Child Support Payments

In every state, parents are required to support their children, whether or not the parents were married when the child was born. The federal Child Support Enforcement Act (42 U.S.C. § 651) requires...

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How Living Together Affects Current Alimony Payments

Once your divorce is final and alimony decisions are made, either by the court or through your own agreement with your ex, can they be changed? Once again, it depends. If alimony is granted for an...

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Funerals and Other Final Arrangements of Unmarried Couples

Many people make burial or cremation plans informally, trusting their loved ones to take care of the details after death. This works fine if you’re confident your plans will be carried out. Sometimes,...

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Preparing a Basic Will

Many of us avoid the subject of death whenever possible. We don’t plan for what will happen to our property, who will care for our minor children, or even whether we’ll be buried or cremated....

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How Unmarried Couples Can Avoid Probate

Probate is a court proceeding where your will is filed, assets gathered, debts and taxes paid, and property distributed to your beneficiaries. The process is time-consuming and expensive. Although the...

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Estate and Gift Taxes Affecting Unmarried Couples

Traditionally, the federal government has levied a tax on the net worth of property you leave at death (the estate tax) or give away while you are alive (the gift tax). In addition to federal taxes, a...

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Living Together

When youre married, all kinds of laws affect your relationship. There are clear rules about each spouses financial responsibilities, parenting rights, property ownership, inheritance rights, and much...

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Same-Sex Common Law Marriage and Social Security Dependents & Survivor Benefits

Prior to the Supreme Court decision that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), married same-sex couples were not entitled to the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples....

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What to Include in a Living Together Contract

A living together contract can be comprehensive, covering every aspect of your relationship, or it can be specific, covering only one transaction (such as a new house purchase). These contracts need...

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