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Life Partners Vs. Spouses: What You Should Know


You’ve been with your partner for a few years and want to take the next step. When people in a relationship think about the next step, they automatically think of marriage, but that does not have to be the only line of progression.

Instead of being a spouse, you can be a life partner. A life partner is someone who is in a serious, committed relationship with someone else, but they’re not married. A life partner can be anyone in any type of relationship, whether it’s heterosexual or homosexual. They can choose to have children or not.

Whether you want to be a spouse or a life partner, there are pros and cons of each. Read on to learn more.

What is the Difference?

Both life partners and spouses are in long-term committed relationships. They typically live together and combine their finances.

However, spouses are married, and marriage is a legal partnership. With marriage comes a lot of responsibilities and benefits. For example, those who are married have decision-making authority. If their spouse has health problems, they can make decisions about medical care and treatment. Life partners do not have this right. Spouses also have automatic inheritance rights and they can file taxes together for greater benefits.

Marriage also tends to have social benefits. People are more likely to take your relationship seriously if you are married. However, more and more people—especially millennials—are choosing to cohabitate rather than get married.

What is the Process?

As you may know, to become a spouse, you need to get married. This involves getting a marriage license and having a wedding ceremony.

Being a life partner is even easier. You don’t have to do anything specific to do so, and there are no legal requirements. It’s as simple as holding yourself out to your friends and family as life partners.

Ending a life partnership is also easy. You can just go your separate ways, like you’re breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. There is no alimony to worry about. There are no legal requirements involved, unless there are children. However, you may have to split up any property you shared together.

If you’re a spouse, though, breaking up is much harder. You’ll have to file for a divorce, which is a complex and costly legal process. There will be a lot of paperwork involved as well as documentation about assets and debts. It’s even more complicated if there are children involved, as you will have to deal with child custody and support issues.

Seek Legal Help

Being a spouse requires marriage, which is more of a legal issue. While a life partnership may have legalities tied to it, it is generally easier to walk away from that type of relationship.

Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you untangle the issues involved in a relationship. Schedule a consultation today to learn more. Call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form.



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