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After a 24 year relationship, 14 spent living together, my partner wants to move across PA to be closer to her grandchildren in NJ. After ten years in Butler I have done many things in the community, finally have a sense of roots that I don't want to give up and start over in an unknown location at age 72. No discussion is possible even though she is willing enough for me go with her. I can't survive alone with my little dog. Is there legal advice available on my rights to property, support, whatever?

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Thanks all. Some nice responses. Too complex or too much information. I do appreciate all, even the last two.

Good bye.
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This is really beyond the scope of this group. Mikey, I can tell that you are in trouble. Are you taking your medications? Please don't forget to take them. And get some professional help working through this. Wishing you good luck. It is really not that bad. There are lots of resources out there if you'll reach out.
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Nice. I can't think why she'd want to get away.
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"I want to make her share the assets to hurt her. Despite it all I want to be with her."

You might want to examine the nature of this relationship and why you want to hurt her yet be with her. Something's amiss here.

If she senses you want to hurt her through asset contention, perhaps that's the real reason why she's moving.

Time for some introspection and re-evaluation.
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You say you are 72 and your partner is running away because her business crumbled. As she perchance been supporting you for the last 15 years? If that is the case and you really don't care enough for her to make the move, as others have suggested start looking for ways to support yourself. a good place to start would be your local Area on Aging council. They will have knowledge of all the resources available to you. Go have lunch at the local senior center and find out how others are coping. It is a cold hard world out there but where there is a will there is a way. may not be quite what you are used to but you will survive.
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This response disappeared, so a précis. The range of your thoughts reflect the range of ideas and conflicts in my head. For everything there is a yes and a no. I could live alone in a subsidized apartment. Life has shown me that living alone will destroy me. Yes, I have Medicare and supplemental and SS. No, I have nothing else. A job? I am so overqualified for so much that I am under qualified for reality. I want to make her share the assets to hurt her. Despite it all I want to be with her.

Who knows what I will do--inertia do!
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Mike, the type of lawyer would depend on what you're seeking - financial compensation, share of your joint assets, etc. I think a family law attorney might be appropriate. But it wouldn't be unusual to have to pay a retainer.

I'm still confused what you seek and hope to gain by involving legal counsel though. Perhaps I'm missing something here.

As to the social aspect, I'm wondering if there are any support groups for bi-polar folks in your area. You may find that you bond more with them than with your partner. I would raise that issue with whatever doctor scripts for your bi-polar meds. Ask him/her about any other community support for folks with similar diagnoses.

I'm also confused - in your initial post you stated she wants to move closer to NJ to be with family; in your second post you stated she "wants to run away" because her career has crumbled. Could you clarify?

If you feel obligated to go but anticipate that it will cause hard feelings, then don't go. At 72 you should be getting SS and Medicare, so that should help with the financial situation. It seems you might also be eligible for Medicaid since you stated you have no money.

And actually, many people would prefer the companionship of a dog to a human being!

But please do check out support groups; they may offer more social support than your partner ever did. And I do think you're right, facetious though your statement was. Counseling might help to sort out the conflicts, emotions and apparent resentment you feel for her leaving you, including whether that's creating abandonment issues.

I hope you can find some balance and peace in the situation and move forward with your own goals.
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Mikey, you also asked about legal rights.... not much you can do since you and your partner weren't married. Yes, some States have common law marriage, but during the time you were with your partner did you present yourself to the community as being "married", thus called each other "husband/wife", did your partner use your last name or you used your partner's, filing joint income tax returns, etc.

Why would you be homeless? Don't you have social security, savings, pension from working? If you prefer not to move, look to see if your area has a senior housing apartment where your rent would be income based. Usually such apartments will take small pets.
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Mikey, you mentioned you have been in Butler for 10 years and had put down roots.... think back to when you were 62, didn't you have the same feeling when you first moved to Butler from your previous location?

Don't forget 72 is still very young..... my parents were just a couple years younger when they packed up and moved to their current location, they are now in their 90's.

I know moving isn't all that easy... look at each move as a new adventure. You can also put roots in your new town, too.
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Mikey, God forbid but what would you do and how would you manage if your partner disappeared off the face of the Earth for any other reason? Sort yourself out, mate. I'm sorry for your troubles, but planning to be dependent on someone else is no way to go, and resigning yourself to dependency on someone you resent for it, in a place you don't want to be, is worse. Tell your partner you don't want to leave your hometown and ask her to help you find ways to stay before she leaves.
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IMO, not an atty remember, the common law part is NOT up in the air. Although I don't know the length of time a couple had to live together to be common law in PA, I am SURE it was more than a year. Further, if you WERE to be considered common law and thus went after support or a portion of this person's assets, the atty fees would, I think, be prohibitive.

Therefore, if it were me, I would disregard that possibility and figure out what I was going to do ON MY OWN.
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I know it is a thorny question and I may sound cold, but this will be the second time for such a move, last one I had to close my business and could not start anew in PA. I am bi-polar and it is hard for me to be alone due to issues there.

I know I need a lawyer but what kind and I have no resources anyway. We did move here in 2004 (with 3 days to spare) so the common-law is up in the air.

After all I have done here, helped, gotten to know people...and her career has crumbled which is why she wants to run away...I think of being forced to move as having my light turned off. I suppose I will go with her as most of you suggest, but it will end any emotions, any respect--is that a way to live out my remaining life?

After all of this whining I think I need counseling? And a winning lottery ticket.
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Common law marriage was abolished in PA in 2005. Those people who had established a common law marriage prior to that time would still be considered married, however. You need an attorney to sort out what, if any, rights you might have.

If you can't make it economically without your partner, you should move with her and see how it shakes out. After 24 years, a move (without actually MOVING and trying it out) hardly seems to be an appropriate reason to "divorce".

If you asked me what I thought your odds were of having your relationship recognized as a common law marriage, this non-attorney would say slim to none.
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Have you purchased a home together? If so, what are the plans for it? If it's sold, you should theoretically split the profit percentage wise according to your original contributions. But there might be some additional consideration if you've done all the maintenance (and don't forget women's chores can be considered maintenance as well). DIY repairs and costs should be a consideration.

As to the financial aspect, more info is needed. Were you both working, combining salaries, splitting costs 50/50, saving, etc.? Do you have individual or joint investments?

If you're thinking of palimony support, you'll have to address all the expenditures, ratio of contribution, etc. I don't even know if those kinds of suits are still considered legally. But I do recall that a primary issue is whether one partner sacrificed or compromised a career in order to help the othe partner. Lots to think about.

I actually think if you're that attached to and comfortable with her, it might be better to go with her. You'll then have access to a more extended family and won't be alone and apparently struggling financially as you would be if you remained where you are.

I am a bit uncomfortable though with the approach of thinking what recourse you might have as an apparent first approach, especially as to support, unless you gave up a lucrative career to support her and/or provide for her, such as paying for a college education.
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Some states have what they call "common law" marriage. Check into that, it may be that you are considered married, in which case abandonment might be grounds for a divorce, in which case you might be legally entitled to support.

I am not a lawyer, you need to seek out legal assistance in this matter.
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Is there any chance you could go with her and see if you like living there with the option that you could return to your present home. Is there any compromising or counseling possible? I would assume you have the rights of a common law spouse.
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