You've lived together for years, loved together, cried together, and now it's time to go your separate ways. Couples in long term committed relationships have children together, accumulate property and debts together, use each other in legal documents such as a Power of Attorney and Last Will and Testament. Some individuals might want or think they are entitled to some form of ‘alimony' from their long-term relationship, because in essence the relationship has felt and appeared as a marriage. Since you were never married, divorce law is inapplicable.
Common Law Marriage
Tennessee does not recognize a common law marriage, unless you were common law married in a state where it was legal. A common law marriage means you become legally married after living as husband and wife and holding yourself out as such for a certain period of time. To marry in Tennessee, you will need a valid marriage license solemnized by an individual with statutory authority to do so. If you are legally married and are going through a divorce you can receive alimony.
Some states such as California recognize palimony. Palimony is similar to alimony in which is compensation from one unmarried individual to another. "Tennessee does not recognize support known as palimony." Winebrenner v. Godwin, 2019 Tenn. App. LEXIS 195, *8
How can the law help me?
When a long term non-marital relationship ends numerous other areas of the law can be invoked by your family law attorney, such as agency law, contract law, partnership liability, and property law. Irrespective of how much you have accumulated, the court can then divide the property accordingly. The division of assets and property, absent children, are the main issues in ending a long term non marital relationship.
Can you help me?
If you have separated from your long-term paramour, we can help. Let us put our years of experience to work for you!
I am James M. ‘Jim' Judkins and for a decade family law has been a big part of my practice. Located in the heart of Murfreesboro and in Smithville Tennessee I represent clients in family law situations all through Tennessee. I love being a family lawyer. Helping people successfully through the most turbulent times of their lives gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from James M. Judkins, attorney or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.