If we lived together and never got married, will I be entitled to “marital rights?”

Certain benefits may only be obtained through marriage. These include spousal support, alimony, and the right to divide all marital property tax-free through Hermitage equitable distribution. If you only lived together, even if it was for a very long time, you have no right to collect support from your former partner, because these benefits may only be obtained from a marital partner.

However, you may have the right to file in Mercer County civil court for ownership/dissolution of any assets that you may have acquired jointly with the other party, as well as to divide responsibility for any debts that you may have acquired together. This will likely result in a 50/50 division of the assets and the debts if both parties are able to prove that both contributed to the purchase of the property.

This may not be the case if you and your partner ever drafted a Hermitage Domestic Partnership Agreement at any time. If this agreement was drafted, and lays out how property that was owned before cohabitation and after should be divided, then the terms of the agreement will be enforced as long as it meets the standards for any contract, such as lack of coercion and duress.

If you have children with your partner, then you retain the same rights to the children regardless of your marriage. Unlike your property, all custody and child support proceedings will take place in the family court, regardless of marital status. This is because your obligation to your children is the same despite your marriage or lack thereof.

Our Hermitage Family lawyers have represented many unmarried couples, and established their rights to property that they contributed to, and homes that they helped to build. Contact our Mercer County Domestic Partnership Attorneys today to discuss your case!

Our office accepts Pennsylvania family law cases including divorce, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, paternity and child support matters, child custody cases, juvenile law cases, and related matters in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Beaver County, Butler County, Washington County, Westmoreland County (Greensburg), Lawrence County. Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Western Pennsylvania counties including Armstrong County (Kittanning) Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Somerset County, and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.


The statements in this section are based on Pennsylvania law and have been issued to inform and not advise. The statements are general in nature and individual facts in a given case may alter their application or involve other laws not referred to here