What are my options according to the law regarding support in a divorce?

I’ve been with a man for 8 years now. He’s the father of my 2 children. We’ve been engaged for 6 of those 8 years but never legally married. We are going through a breakup. I’ve been a

stay-at-home mom for 7 of those 8 years, which was a decision we made together for our family. He supports the family financially; my children are staying with me. I’m willing to allow him every other weekend or whatever we decide; I’m very flexible and willing to be fair.

However I will ask for child support. We live together and both of us are on the lease. I would like to stay in the home where they feel comfortable and not have to take them to sleep on a friend’s couch but because I do not work will he be obligated to support me any until I’m able to support myself or pay a portion of the rent for the boys and I to stay in the home until I get a job and am financially stable? Is there such a thing as common law?

Asked on May 2, 2016 under Family Law, South Carolina


G.J., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In your situation you might be able to show you were in a common-law marriage. Two qualifications must be met in order for the court to recognize your common-law marriage.  First, the couple has to have considered themselves married, and both people presented themselves to others (friends, family, neighbors). Did you have joint accounts, joint tax returns or such things that show you shared a life together.   Second, you are eligible to be married under state law. For example, you can’t be under aged or related.

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