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My rights as a girlfriend to sue my boyfriend of 12 years?

Salem, OR |

we have been living together since 2006 however he has been paying me support as he cost me my job since 2000, he had promised insurance, profit sharing of business( liquor store, which has since been sold) also promised vacations, now we are at odds we are not married , however i need to leave as i am under constant threats but i have no means of support and he has stopped providing for me. this is in Oregon

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

You could file a petition to dissolve a common law domestic partnership and seek division of assets and debts pursuant to both of your intentions, but there is no right to "spousal support" when you are not married. Maybe you could pursue the "support" if you can prove an enforceable contract (I'm not sure if that would get you around the no spousal support rule). You might also be able to get a Family abuse prevention restraining order depending on what the threats consist of. You should get private legal advice and not put a lot of details online.

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Shannon L. Hall, Attorney at Law (Licensed in Oregon); 960 Broadway Street N.E., Suite 4, Salem, OR 97301; Phone: 971-209-2443; 245 East 4th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401; Phone: 541-434-2411 My response(s) to the question(s) on this website do not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is not created until a Fee Agreement has been signed. In addition, my suggestions are based on very limited information provided by the Asker and are given based on my experiences and general circumstances. My suggestions may not ultimately be applicable to the Asker's situation because of the limited amount of information provided. No suggestion is guaranteed to be sucessful. Case specifics should not be shared online. You should seek specific legal advice in a private setting.

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2 comments

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

I wouldn't call it a common law domestic partnership - there is in common law marriage in Oregon. It is just a domestic partnership and the concept actually came out of partnership law. This arose back in the early 1980's when actor Lee Marvin was sued for Palimony in California in an attempt to establish the right to spousal support in California where people weren't married. This type of relationship was also called a meretricious relationship and I had to do some extensive research on it for a case in Washington State. My findings boiled down to where states don't recognize common law marriage you don't have the right to get a quasi divorce when you live together but you can use the principles of contract law and partnership law to the extent that you had such contractual agreements for sharing property and debts just the same as business partners that didn't have an intimate personal relationship. There wasn't anything common law about it - it grew in the 1980's out of partnership and contract principles.

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

Correction: there is no common law marriage in Oregon.

Posted

There is no right to spousal support if you are not married. It is not clear how he cost you your job so if there is some right to damages from that incident I can't comment without more information. Generally speaking if you worked in a business for him he had to at least pay you minimum wage for the work you did and if he promised you a higher wage he would owe that instead. You can contact Oregon's State agency, BOLI to investigate and pursue any claim you have for unpaid wages if indeed there was an employment relationship. In terms of your other options, you should seek the help of friends or families or look into a women's shelter where you could live until you find a job. Some of the shelters also have resources to help people find jobs. If he has been violent to you, you might qualify for a family abuse restraining order. The court in granting these orders has some limited power to award some financial assistant to help the victim. You will have to read the conditions of getting such an order and make sure you qualify otherwise you can't use this suggestion. There is information on line at the Oregon State Bar website and I have put the link on my website which I will give you here. It is possible to file a suit called a dissolution of a domestic relationship which will help divide up property and debts but the court doesn't have the power to award spousal support. There are forms at the courthouse. You did not mention having children with your boyfriend but if you have minor children you can get child support which would include medical support and child care assistance from the father of the children. The state will establish this for you for free. There may be other promises that your boyfriend made to you that he broke in exchange for your participation in his business. To the extent you can prove a business partnership you may have the right to sue for damages for the promises that were made to you if they are part of the business partnership agreement that was broken. Unfortunately you will need to pay a lawyer for bringing a suit for the dissolution of a domestic partnership or business partnership however you can check at the courthouse and see if there are free forms that you might be able to adapt and use. The services of BOLI for wages, the court for getting a domestic relations restraining order, and the division of child support for establishing child support are essentially free. http://www.portlandlegalservices.com

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