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Do You Need a Family Law Attorney to Protect Your Rights After Ending a Long-Term Relationship?

June 20, 2020

When you break up with someone after a few months of dating, your only losses are emotional ones; in the beginning, you miss your ex and are indignant that he or she dumped you. Soon, you start to feel better, after you listen to your favorite song that your ex hated and hang out with your old friends who appreciate you more than your ex ever did. Divorce, on the other hand, is a legal and financial ordeal; the court takes you to task for every curse word you have ever uttered in your children’s presence and every burrito you ever bought during your lunch break at work while you were earning less than your spouse. Getting out of a long-term relationship can be even worse than a divorce, though, because, when a couple gets divorced, the court takes pains to ensure that each party gets his or her fair share of marital property, marital debt, and parenting time. When an unmarried couple breaks up, one ex-partner can simply skip town and leave the other one with the mortgage for the house they lived in together, the credit card debt they accumulated together, and all the responsibility of caring for their children. The family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh can help unmarried couples resolve disputes related to parenting and, in some cases, division of property.

Co-Parenting with Your Ex-Boyfriend or Ex-Girlfriend

When an unmarried woman gives birth, the child does not automatically have a legal second parent. Her boyfriend or girlfriend must file a motion with the court if he or she wishes to be recognized as the child’s legal parent; that decision is irrevocable, so once you become a child’s legal parent, the child is your responsibility until he or she turns eighteen, and if the mother requests child support, you must pay it. Importantly, child support obligations require legal parenthood, not genetic parenthood, so a DNA test will not get you out of your child support obligations.

If you never established legal paternity for your child before you and your ex-girlfriend broke up, she can still collect child support. The court can order you to take a DNA test and designate you as the legal father based on the results. If the court is asking you to pay more child support than you can afford, a family law attorney can help you modify your child support obligations. The attorney can also help you get the court to order a parenting plan that enables you and your relatives to have a strong relationship with your child.

Division of Property Among Unmarried Couples

Unlike married couples, unmarried couples who break up after living together do not universally have a legal right to a share of the wealth they accumulated together. It is possible to argue in court that your ex-partner should reimburse you for your share of the wealth you helped him or her accumulate, but you will need a lawyer to help you argue this.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Former Couples Be There for Their Children

Unmarried couples have fewer property rights than married couples, but parental rights are virtually inalienable. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh & Western PA about your co-parenting case. 🡺 412-419-3448