If a couple is not married and has children together, they can file a Parenting Petition to resolve parenting time and child support issues. However, the Court does not have the authority to make orders regarding the division of assets and debts, personal property or the residence itself. If the parties are married, the Court can make such orders if a Divorce Petition is filed.
The issue of the residence of the parties is simply who gets to stay. The Court cannot make an Order regarding that issue in a Parenting Petition. This can lead to a dilemma if both parties want to stay in the residence. The family court cannot help with the decision-making on that issue. The parties are attempting to resolve this issue in the middle of dissolving their relationship. It’s not an easy time to try and come to an agreement.
Even if the couple has been together for a long period of time, the Court does not have the authority in a Parenting Petition to divide the assets and debts that they may have accumulated. What this means is that each party will be responsible for any debt or have ownership of any asset in his or her name. Any assets or debts that are in both names will have to be divided either by agreement or by litigating such an issue in a different setting.
If you have questions about filing a Parenting Petition, contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you through the process.