What are my mother’s rights if she has been with my step-dad for more than 20 years and never got married? 8 Answers as of May 02, 2014

My mom has been with my step-dad for more than 20 years never got married just lived together and had 2 kids together in California. My step-dad has decided to move on with his life. My mom has been a housewife for almost the whole time they have been married and has dedicated her time to him and the family. Now she does not know what she is going to do since he does not want to move out and leave her home with my brothers. What are her rights, does she have any? He put her in his taxes and also has life insurances on her, is that worth anything?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
CA does not have common law marriage. So the fact they have lived together for 20 years does not give her any rights. If they have a written agreement there could be contract rights. If this was her house as you implied then she may own the complete house. There certainly could be rights to child support if either or both of the children are under 18. They did not properly file tax returns. She may be able to file separately and get some money for herself she should contact a cpa about this. He could change the beneficiary on the insurance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/2/2014
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
This is the problem with co-habituating.. Michigan does not accept the concept of common law marriage (e.g. cohabitation that gives rights).
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/2/2014
Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
You say two mutually contradictory things, they never got married and they've been married. If they were married (there is no common law marriage in WA) she can file for a divorce and ask for maintenance (alimony). If they weren't married, she can file a palimony suit. If the kids are minors she needs to ask for a parenting plan and child support. If they're adults, they need to support themselves. Life insurance is irrelevant if it's on her life since she is alive and he would get the money when she dies. It is worth nothing to her. Since he supported her, she already benefitted from the tax claim. It is evidence of the nature of the relationship for purposes of a palimony suit.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/2/2014
Law Offices of John F. Nicholson
Law Offices of John F. Nicholson | John F. Nicholson
She needs to consult an attorney to determine if there is a Marvin contract, and there are other issues that may factually entitle her to money. There is no simple answers to your questions.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/2/2014
Fran Brochstein
Fran Brochstein | Fran Brochstein
In Texas, there is common law marriage. Your mom needs to talk to a family law attorney to determine if they had a common law marriage. If they did not then they merely lived together. Being together 20 years does not give her any rights if they were not married. It appeared that he might have listed her as his "wife" on taxes and insurance, that would prove their intent to bee married. She needs to see a family law attorney immediately since there is a time limit on claiming a common law marriage in Texas after the separation occurs.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/2/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    About the only thing she can do is give him a 30-day notice to quit and then file an eviction action. Unless they bought things together, his property is his and hers is hers. This is why the non-breadwinner really needs to force a marriage. She should consult with a local family law attorney to figure out what she can do.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 5/2/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You mother needs to see an attorney, depending on the state you are in she will have more or less rights.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/2/2014
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida | Dennis J. Leffert, J.D.
    Living with your dad and having children together, for 20 years, will be considered a marriage and she should have all the rights of a "properly" married couple.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/2/2014
Click to View More Answers: