Legal Considerations for Unmarried Couples

Explore the crucial legal considerations for unmarried couples in Florida facing separation. This guide elucidates property, custody, and financial aspects to ensure a smoother transition.

When unmarried couples separate, they often face complex legal challenges that can be difficult to navigate. Unlike married couples, these couples do not have the same legal protections in the event of a separation. This can result in contentious disputes over property, assets, and custody of children. This post outlines key legal aspects that unmarried couples should understand about property and custody.

Property Rights and Relationships

Unlike their married counterparts, unmarried couples living together encounter a more complex terrain when it comes to divvying up property. The law doesn’t automatically shield your assets, making it essential to take proactive steps like drafting a cohabitation agreement or embracing joint ownership of property.

Unmarried couples who live together have limited legal rights when it comes to property division. The National Conference of State Legislatures have found that cohabitants don’t naturally have the rights and protections married couples have. This means that couples that are not married must take extra steps to protect their assets in the event of a separation. Some options include drafting a cohabitation agreement or creating joint ownership of property.

Custody Issues

When couples who are not married and have children separate, they must come up with a custody agreement that works for both parties. This can be a complicated and emotional process. The American Bar Association recommends that couples collaboratively develop a parenting schedule to detail custody and visitation. If consensus fails, the court will impose a custody decision in the child’s best interest.

Financial Issues

Unmarried couples may also face financial challenges when it comes to separation. Forbes recommends that unmarried couples who are living together keep their finances separate and avoid co-mingling their assets. This can help protect each individual’s financial interests in the event of a separation.

Keeping finances unmingled is a smart move for unmarried couples living together. It’s like having a financial lifeboat that ensures each one’s monetary interests remain intact during stormy separations.

Unmarried Couples in Florida

Florida-based unmarried couples don’t enjoy the same legal protections as married couples, especially regarding property and custody. However, alternatives exist to protect their interests.

Unmarried couples might formulate a cohabitation agreement detailing property rights, responsibilities, and asset division procedures upon separation. Additionally, they can create a parenting plan that outlines custody and visitation arrangements for any children they have together.

Cohabitation agreements and parenting plans are enforceable in Florida, given they’re correctly executed and compliant with state law. Hence, unmarried couples should consult a family law attorney.

In terms of property ownership, unmarried couples in Florida generally own property as tenants in common. This means that each person owns a share of the property and can sell or transfer their share without the consent of the other person. However, if one person dies, their share of the property will not automatically pass to the other person, but will instead go to their heirs or beneficiaries as outlined in their will or trust.

Overall, it’s important for unmarried couples in Florida to take proactive steps to protect their interests, especially when it comes to property and custody issues. Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that their legal rights are protected and that they have a clear plan in place for the future.


Unmarried couples who are separating must navigate a complex legal landscape when it comes to property and custody issues. By understanding their legal rights and seeking out legal advice, couples can work together to create a separation agreement that works for both parties.

The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.

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