If you break up with your girlfriend/SO who you have kids with do you owe her anything more than CS?

Just curious. Pre-nups are seemingly routine with high powered individuals and yet there’s often still tons of fighting over money and assets that goes on when they divorce.

If a wealthy person sees this and decides to not get married but simply has a girlfriend/partner/SO he lives with and they have several children together.

If that unmarried couple break up does he legally owe her anything more than child support? How does the law treat that scenario?

That is going to depend enormously upon the law where it happens. Here where I am in Oz, the answer is easy. The law really doesn’t distinguish between married and de-facto. Cohabit for two years and you are, for most purposes, married. Have kids together and the law will most certainly regard the relationship as identical to marriage for issues involving settlement. So not getting married as a way of protecting your money won’t help in the sightest. As a starting point, assume you will lose half. Here that includes your superannuation/pension-plan too.

A termination clause, and a good one at that. So, a female can live with a male for a few years and get half, including future earnings that will be earned when the female is no longer in the male’s life?

Not fair for the male, but a really good deal for the female.

Yay for gender equality!

Then there is …

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Marvin

No, only for the time they were together. This includes that portion of the superannuation/pension that was created during cohabitation, but nothing more. (i.e. you can’t pay money into a plan as a way of hiding it from settlement.) They key point is that the rules don’t distinguish formal marriage from de-facto. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is married.

Err… it’s half of the assets, not half of the man’s assets, and there is no alimony, only child support (which is considerably less than “half” of the ex-partner’s earnings). I know one ex-couple who share 50/50 custody of their child but because she earns more than he does, she has to pay him child support.

Your comment on gender equality was uncalled for and irrelevant.

As far as I know, the laws are similar in Canada - you don’t have to have a formal marriage certificate for the state to consider you married when dissolving the union (they’ll consider you common-law married before you break up, too, for taxation purposes).

As for what is owed to whom, as I understand it, things purchased during the relationship will need to be split (things like houses, cars, stocks, whatever) as well as child support figured out.

In Spain it cuts both ways, it simply happens to be more frequent for the man to make more money and for the woman to be the one who keeps the kids. The dual divorces of the Albertos from the Koplowitz sisters were big news among other things because both battles centered on the husbands claiming they were entitled to half their exes considerable fortunes, while the wifes said that as the reason for both divorces was “husband caught cheating” they very much were not (things got complicated further by the women having inherited the money and the men being top managers in their wives’ company). In their case there were papers, but there have been female artists who got hit for alimony by their no-papers exes. The whole reasoning behind registering marriages is that it’s easier to prove marriage exists by showing a paper than by showing a pile of glossies or calling the neighbors (who may suddenly get horrid cases of amnesia in the judge’s presence while blabbing away when a TV camera and a big fat check are in the room). Common-law marriage doesn’t exist when it comes to taxes but it does when it comes to yelling at each other over money.

That’s right. In most of the common law provinces, the right to share property acquired during a common law relationship arises out of the law of trusts, with the courts usually finding that a constructive trust has arisen.

In at least two provinces (Saskatchewan and Manitoba), the provincial family law statutes provide that a common law couple is under the same rights and obligations with respect to property acquired during the marriage as is a married couple.

One thing about the common-law marriage argument: common law marriages are only recognized in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

What cohabit defined as? What if the man and woman are college students and are sharing an apartment?

It’s kind of tricky. In Canada for example, legal marriages are controlled under the Marriage Act, while “common law” is governed by each province’s family law act.

Child support is regulated by federal guidelines. Generally, they pool income from both parents to come up with a “total income” number. There is a chart to say how much of that money should go to support a child. Then the total is split in proportion to the relative income of the two parents. He makes $80K, she makes $20K, he’ll pay 4 times more. The non-custodial parent pays their share o the custodial parent.

Thanks to a court case by a bitchy lawyer in Montreal who wanted to stick it to her ex and the scourge of Political Correctness, these payments are now after tax. So if he gave $20,000 of his $80,000 to his ex, she would have paid tax on $40K income. Instead, he pays income tax on $80K, and then pays a share of his after-tax income to her. Net result -more for the government, less for the kid. Support is required until the kid is 18 or out of college. Obviously the receiving parent can use it (it is intended) for general things, like the home and food and lifestyle choices. If daddy can afford to drive a Mercedes, why shouldn’t the kids ride in one? Open to abuse… Parents may also be required to split the same way any extraordinary expense (think college tuition) over and above regular support.

Family assets - anything that belongs to the family for family use - is split 50-50 on breakup. (Laws vary by province) There’s some recognition for “earning a share” but usually by about 10 years in, it’s 50-50 what they each own. Exceptions may be made for obvious personal property like jewelry (unles he wear it too).

Most prenups that are upheld adhere to this basic fairness. If he says “she gets nothing” the courts will toss it out. One that did stand up was a clause that said the respective business were off limits (both law partners ineseparate firms) but she got a share of the family house that went up each year. She though ha ha the courts will toss this and signed anyway. The court said - you’re a lawyer, you knew what you were signing, nobody should sign assuming they can get out of something - and upheld the prenup to teach her a lesson.

Canada rarely gives alimony, as in permanent on-going support. Usually it’s the “housewife for 30 years to a rich doctor who didn’t want her to work”. In cases where she’s put her career on hold for a while, they will allow spousal support for a time for retraining, i.e. going back to school, getting back into the work force - but at least the concept of a life-long free ride is over.

Years ago the settlements used to be “support until married again”. With today’s lax attitudes and modern POV, do we the assumption that a woman is a kept dependant? And, do we want cases where you have detectives trying to quantify how many times Joe slept over and argue in court that this makes her “remarried” in common law? No. It’s bad enough the welfare departments do that.

Cohabit is generally defined as living as husband and wife. Sleep together? Share bank accounts? vacation together? Frequently socialize as a couple? Have kids? Buy household good (furniture, etc.) for common use?

If it comes down to a civil litigation, a jury can decide whether these were roomies with their own lives or a couple. Once you’ve been around a couple for 6 months, I’m sure you could form an opinion as to whether they were “married” or not.

that’s why we have lawyers and judges.

Just to make life interesting - in Canada a guy can end up paying child support for someone else’s kid, if he “acts like a parent” for long enough. Once you take on the role, goes modern family law logic, it’s not something you can just walk away from. Things like - does the kid call you “daddy”, do you sign their permission slips for school, take them places like the doctor, act like a parent i.e. giving permission for medical treatment. makes for interesting court cases too…

So if there are no benefits to actually getting married, I guess the only reason for marriage is to benefit the wedding industry. (Or for religious reasons.) Well, that clears that up, if young Ms. Sali ever wants to get married, I’ll just tell her to shack up with some guy and we’ll all save a ton of money.

As the rich man said after losing his boat to dry rot, his airplane to wind shear, and his wife to a younger guy, “If it floats, flies, or fucks, it’s better to rent!”

I don’t think that’s completely correct either; as I understand it (and I’m throwing this out to legal Dopers who know this better than I do) in a lot of ways, common-law marriages get all the down side of official marriage without all of the benefits (especially same sex marriages, which are legal and recognized in Canada).

I am pretty sure that this has happened in the USA several times as well.

The guy willingly took on the role as a father (even though not married to the child’s mother) and when the couple split, the man finds himself leaglly on the hook for child support.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but there are good reasons for child support to be paid after tax. When this couple was married, they earned $100K, paid taxes on that, and spent some of it to support their kid (say, $25K). Why should $20K of that become tax-exempt because they got divorced?

How about this horror story - which happened to the brother of a guy I went to grad school with so was exposed to the story in ‘real time’ as it developed. We went out for beers often.

Short description:

Woman likes Guy A- has sex with him - has a kid.

Guy breaks up with woman.

Guy B enters the picture really liking the woman. Dates for a year then moves in with her. Acts as father to kid (who is just a baby)

Woman breaks up with Guy B.

Guy B finds himself summoned to court and is hit up with child support. He tries to fight it. No dice - he has to pay.

Woman goes back to Guy A - Guy A moves in with her.

So…this guy is paying child support to a mother and his father…for a baby that will not remember him. The mother and father are together raising their kid…and he is having to pay child support to them.

Over the years he demanded and kept visitation but when the kid hit 10 and asked him why…because his real father lives with him and that it is weird that he keeps insisting on visitation…he gave up.

He tried twice to get this reversed and no dice.

I lost track of this guy 7 years ago. The kid would have turned 18 in 2008.

I’d really have to see proof of that court case to believe it. If the man married her I could see how he might be screwed, but just “living” with her and her child gets him on the hook for permenant CS? I simply find that difficult to believe unless they were together so long they qualified as virtual “common law” married partners. How long did he and the woman live together in total?