Although an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people are involved in polygamous "marriages," the law doesn't support this type of non-traditional relationship. People can be sexually and/or romantically involved with as many individuals as they want at the same time. However, they can only be legally married to one person at a time. This can present significant problems for the unmarried persons in the relationship when the married couple legally separate. Here are some of the challenges you may face and what you can do to protect yourself.
The area unmarried parties in a polygamous relationship stand to lose the most is in the division of assets. In community property states, assets purchased during the marriage automatically becomes marital property, which means both parties in the relationship are entitled to a portion of the asset's value (usually 50 percent). So anything you purchased with either party in the marriage could potentially be taken away, or you may be required to pay the person a portion of the value, even if he or she didn't contribute to the asset's purchase.
For instance, you and your married girlfriend each contribute $3,000 to buy a $6,000 car. When your girlfriend decides to divorce her husband (your boyfriend), the court may award him up to 50 percent of the vehicle's market value, even though he didn't actually pay any money towards the purchase. This is true even if the vehicle was placed in only your girlfriend's name. If the vehicle was placed in your name only, you may still have to pay your boyfriend a portion of the car's value (most likely half of your girlfriend's interest in the vehicle).
There are a couple of ways you can prevent this from happening. The easiest way is to discuss the issue with your lovers and get them to agree to sign over the assets you want to you. Since you're legally an outside party to the divorce, it's important that both spouses agree to this in writing; otherwise, the court may think one spouse was trying to hide assets from the other, or one party could renege on the agreement and convince the court award him or her the property.
The other way you could avoid losing assets is to show they aren't part of the marital estate but actually the spouse's separate property. Any asset that's considered separate property remains with the spouse it belongs to. Separate property is typically anything the person owned before entering the marriage. However, an asset may be considered separate property if
For instance, if your girlfriend used money she earned from her job to purchase the vehicle and the money was never comingled with her husband's (e.g. placed in a joint checking account), the court may find the vehicle is separate property if the husband never used it.
Another challenge you may run into when a married couple you're involved with dissolves their marriage is obtaining child support, particularly when it comes to same-sex coupling. The law is already set up to handle child custody and support issues between men and women, because it's very easy to establish parentage. The only issue you'll face here is the child support won't be automatically ordered in your case since you are not married to the father. You'll need to file a formal child support order with the court to start receiving payments.
However, children born of same-sex parents have to jump through more hoops because it's much harder to assign parentage. Not all states recognize the legal rights and responsibilities of the non-biological parent or will only recognize them in specific situations (e.g. adoption). Adding a third person into the mix complicates things more. For instance, if the male was the sperm donor in a Male/Female/Female polygamous relationship, the biological mother may not be able to collect child support from the non-biological mother at all.
Even though you're not the one actually getting a divorce, it's a good idea to consult with a divorce attorney for assistance with protecting your assets and ensuring your children receive the support they're due. For more information about these issue, contact an attorney by visiting a site like http://www.liebmannfamilylaw.com/.
Hello and welcome, I'm Winfred Paulo. I have a passion for civil court cases of all kinds. Some time back, I ended up in the thick of a civil case after a lengthy dispute with my neighbor. The dispute went on for years and ended badly with an incident that landed us both in court. We had to prove our side of the case in an effort to obtain a positive outcome and recoup our losses. Unfortunately, I lost the case due to a lack of evidence. Since then, I've maintain a strong interest in civil cases and their proceedings. I will share information about civil cases on this site to help others understand these proceedings better. I may talk about legal terms, and expected outcomes for each case type. I hope you visit often to learn more. Thanks for stopping by my website.