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We understand that right now, many New Yorkers have urgent questions about their parenting and custody agreements and arrangements. Coronavirus and the subsequent restrictions imposed on movement have created a sense of uncertainty for many parents. The firm is currently open for business. We are also offering remote consultations via video chat and phone calls. We are here to answer your pressing questions about your custody arrangements during the coronavirus crisis, as well as to speak about any other family law and divorce issues you may have.

We want you to stay safe and healthy. If you wish to meet with an attorney remotely, we can accommodate that need. If you have questions, please contact us.

Popular culture perpetuates the myth of common law marriage, usually by setting forth the dictum that if a couple stays together for a period of time such as seven years, they convert their relationship into one that has all the rights of a legally performed and recognized marriage. The reality is that common law marriages only exist in a few states, and New York is not one of them.

To be legally married in New York you must marry formally and follow all requirements of the law. When a couple decides to forego a license and marriage ceremony, and instead cohabits without going through with a civil or church ceremony, generally they put themselves in the position of foregoing the rights of being married. This means that upon parting ways, a claim for spousal support or spousal maintenance usually will not be ordered. Nor will a claim for an equitable distribution of assets succeed.

Another problem for couples who fail to marry legally is that they are not entitled to inherit automatically when a partner passes away. Even if not legally wed, couples still have an obligation to support any children born during their relationship.