The term "cohabitation" refers to people who are living together without being married. Couples of different or the same sex can cohabitate.
Cohabitation Termination Presents Issues
Under Wisconsin law, cohabitation is not a recognized marriage, regardless of the duration or nature of the relationship. Wisconsin does not recognize common law marriage nor any type of relationship between people other than marriage. For that reason, cohabitants cannot terminate their relationship through the normal termination of a marriage process, rather, they must rely upon Wisconsin's contract and other laws that govern the termination of a relationship and to divide property, and debt.
Cohabitation & Children
If a child was born at any time prior to, during, or after the relationship of unmarried partners, then Wisconsin support laws apply. The law concerning the children of same sex unmarried couples is likely to continue to evolve.
Property Rights Of People Living Together
For cohabitation relationships, termination of those relationships, division of property and debt acquired during the relationship, and support questions, Attorney Kathy Reiley has fast become the 'go to' person for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. For several years, Attorney Reiley has handled cohabitation dispute resolution and mediation, which are the usual methods for resolving the issues that arise for partners terminating their relationships.
Resolving Disputes Between Cohabitants
Unmarried cohabitants do not have the statutory structure available to resolve the issues concerning property and debt when they terminate the relationship that married parties have. The filing fee to commence the action is higher and they do not have the presumptions for property division to rely on. Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and the collaborative process, are good options for saving time and money.
If you are in a cohabitating relationship that is coming to end, please call Attorney Kathleen Reiley (608-246-8309) or send Kathleen Reiley an email to set up a confidential meeting to discuss your options.