There are many Americans who live together as husband and wife, but never become formally “married.” Without the certified union, what are their rights? Who gets the house, the car and the bank accounts if the relationship ends or one of them unexpectedly passes away? We speak with a contract and family law attorney who has written extensively on the subject to find out how society and the courts views cohabitation relationships. We also cover what steps these couples can take to still be recognized by the law. 


  • Martha Ertman, Professor of Law specializing in contract and family at the Carey School of Law, University of Maryland, and author of the book, Love’s Promises: How formal and informal contracts shape all kinds of families.

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