We Help People Through Stressful Times Every Day

Photo by M. Martinez

Family Law for Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples (of both opposite-gender and same-gender pairings) can use the judicial system to resolve disputes when their relationships dissolve. Generally, these causes of action are called Dissolution of a Domestic Partnership. The court may not apply the same standards to dissolution actions between unmarried and married couples.

I routinely represent clients who are seeking to part ways with a non-married partner. These legal proceedings can be complex without experienced representation. I will advocate to ensure that your future following the separation is secure, and you are awarded the rights and property you deserve.

Call my office today at 503-626-1808 for a consultation to discuss your situation and goals.


The court will not make a spousal support-comparable award in the case of an unmarried couple. The only form of support that a court can order in the case of an unmarried couple is support for a joint child.

Property Division

The court generally looks to the intent of the parties when dividing property of an unmarried couple. A written agreement is not necessary to prove intent. The court can look to the facts in each particular case to determine what the parties impliedly agreed to. Was the asset owned jointly? Did the parties intend to share in the value of the asset? Did both parties contribute to the acquisition of or increase in value to the asset? The court will then divide property based on what it finds to be the intent of the parties to the relationship.

Custody And Child Support

Either parent can start a civil proceeding to determine the issues of custody or support. The father of a child born out of wedlock will have the same rights as a father who is or was married to the mother once paternity is established. The court can then make a determination with regard to custody and child support. If paternity has been established, the parent with physical custody at the time of filing has "sole" legal custody until a court specifically orders otherwise. The court will then hold a hearing and proceed to make a determination on both custody and child support using the same criteria as is used in a divorce proceeding. See custody and child support sections.

Copyright © Shelley L. Fuller, P.C. | Contact | Site Map | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Website by Dan Gilroy Design