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Uncoupling for the Unhitched

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More people than you think live together as members of a couple, not a marriage. In the course of that relationship they accumulate 'things', like property, assets, debts, and children. Some of these relationships can go on for years before ending. Others are even quite successful, continuing on until the death of a partner.

But not all unmarried couples are so fortunate. For some, as H. L. Mencken said, "Happiness is the china shop; love is the bull."

And so, they reach a point in their lives when they need to uncouple. But, que lastima, they're not entitled to the same privileges married people have.  Unmarried partners in a relationship may think they should be entitled to an equitable division of assets and debts. But the courts treat unmarried couples as single individuals, so the rules of community property and their division don't apply to them. Those same courts, however, can assert jurisdiction if minor children are involved, but this requires activ…