Wednesday, September 16, 2020

My partner has earned millions of dollars during our relationship. We’re not married, but am I entitled to anything if we split? - MarketWatch

Dear Moneyist,

My partner and I have been together five years. We are not married. In that time he has been the primary, and often the sole, breadwinner.

When we met, he had several million dollars in investment accounts as well as a substantial salary ($400,000 to $800,000 a year, depending on bonuses). In that time, he paid off previous debt that I had incurred. We have lived a good life with lots of travel and many other luxuries.

At one point, he was offered a job in Europe and I left my new job in the U.S. to join him, a decision that left me unable to earn an income and continuing to depend on him for his money.

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We share a couple of joint bank accounts, but the vast majority of his money is in accounts in his name only. I have never thought that money should be under both of our names, as it was money he had earned before we even met.

In the time we’ve been together, he has made $2 million to $3 million in income, and he has sold real estate that was owned before we met totaling $1 million. If we separated in the U.S., would I be entitled to anything from him?


Dear John,

The short answer is no. Common-law marriage is typically elective and difficult to prove.


Quite right too.

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Common-law marriage doesn't exist in English law. I don't suppose that that inhibits the courts from being generous with someone else's money.

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 16, 2020 1:19:47 PM

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