Can An Unmarried Partner in Ohio Recieve Support After a Break-Up?


Your Dayton family lawyer was asked this week whether a person who had not married their child’s father but lived with him acting as his wife would be entitled to support from the father, as well as child support for the child, now that their relationship has ended. This person had stopped working to be a stay at home mother and provided home-making support to the father of her child for the past four years. Unfortunately, the answer to whether she could receive palimony (or financial support for an unmarried partner) is generally no in Ohio. Common law marriage, meaning a couple who lives together and acts or “holds themselves out” as husband and wife, and therefore have the same rights as an officially married couple under common law, is not recognized in Ohio anymore. If you were living together as husband and wife but not officially married prior to 1991, there may be an exception to the current rule, however most people do not fall under this exception.

If you are in a similar situation, it is still helpful to speak with an experienced Dayton divorce lawyer. There may be assets that are held jointly in both partner’s names and the fact that you are not married will not prevent you from exercising rights to jointly held assets. There also may be an enforceable contract between the partners that provides for some support after a break up. Additionally, if your ex-partner is the parent of your child, you may be entitled to child support. Child support is owed whether or not parents are married. The marital status of the parties only affects which Court orders that support (if married, child support is sought through the Domestic Relations Court, if unmarried, child support is sought through Juvenile Court).

Marriage is sometimes optional these days for many people. The trend seems to be to live together and have children but not officially “tie the knot”. However, people should think carefully about the protections that the “tied knot” brings, before discounting its value. Married people receive many benefits under our laws. All children born during the marriage are presumed to be children of the marriage, there are tax advantages accorded to married people, health insurance benefits, pension benefits, and privileges (such as the right not to testify against one another in Court). It is true that ending a marriage can be messier than ending an unmarried relationship, but that is because in an unmarried relationship there are often few rights of one party to enforce.

For more information about child or spousal support, please contact Dayton family lawyer at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

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