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I need help with a spousal agreement for unmarried couples

Atlanta, GA |

My boyfriend has asked me and my son to move from georgia to north dakota however i am unemployed and a full time college student so if i go and he decides to change his mind i want to make sure that me and my son are not left homeless and penny less on the streets 1000s of miles away from our family

Attorney Answers 4


  1. To be honest, if you're asking that now, the intelligent decision is not to move until he makes a real commitment that is recognized by the courts. That commitment is called marriage. That is the document that you seek. Since he's offering less, stay in Georgia.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you. Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


  2. This Answer is based solely on Georgia law. I do not know the laws of North Dakota. An agreement like what you seek that does not involve marriage may be unenforceable. You must have certain terms to the contract, which may be difficult to ascertain at this point. Even then, you can only enforce the contract by filing a lawsuit that will produce a monetary judgment upon which he can bankrupt. And, to do this, you will have to hire an attorney and the case could take six months to a year to get to trial. So, from a purely practical standpoint (ignoring the legal issues), I am not aware of an agreement under Georgia law that would provide you the protection you seek. You are better off staying here and completing your college degree so that you can control your financial destiny, unless, of course, you have decided to get married. In that case, make sure you are married before you move and leave what you have been working on here.


  3. There is no such thing as a "Spousal Agreement" for unmarried couples as "spousal" implied "marriage". There is also no benefit to a Prenuptial Agreement if there aren't any pending nuptials (since a 'prenup' only becomes enforceable after the married couple files for divorce).

    What you want is a simple Contract providing for whatever terms you are seeking. Such an agreement may or may not be enforceable later (depending on its contents), but would NOT be treated the same as a dissolution of marriage.

    I hope this information helps answer your question(s).

    ~ Kem Eyo

    The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.


  4. You should contact an attorney in North Dakota and ask if North Dakota enforces "cohabitation agreements". This is agreement operates much like a prenuptial agreement, establishing your rights and obligations to one another should your relationship end, except it applies to a couple that will be living together rather than a married couple. Whether or not such an agreement will be enforced and what terms it may or may not include (for instance, in Massachusetts, a cohabitation agreement could not include terms regarding the custody and support of your son) is based on the law of the particular state.

    Further, if your son is your boyfriend's child, you may want to speak with your boyfriend about filing a joint petition in the North Dakota courts establishing custody and support but suspending the enforcement of that agreement while the two of you continue to live together. While such an order couldn't cover all of the bases, it would provide additional assurances.

    I disagree with my above colleague when it comes to advising you not to move unless and until your boyfriend agrees to marry you. There are many different types of families with countless different ways of structuring themselves. There may also be a variety of ways to protect yourself and your son from financial hardship outside of marriage. The personal decision of whether or not to move should be made by you, and you alone, with full information about your rights should you choose to do so. Many family law attorneys offer free consultations. Seek the advice of a local family law attorney in the area of South Dakota you will be moving you.