There are many reasons why people chose to live common law rather than marry - everything from pure laziness to personal opposition to the institution of marriage and all that falls between.

I think many refuse to marry out of the misguided notion that it's more romantic to live together out of "love", instead of being "forced" to live together if married. Which makes no sense, of course, but there it is.

I have heard many, many people say that they don't want to marry their partner because they think it will be easier to get out of the relationship if it doesn't work out. What a joke - if somebody walks out, the emotional devastation is just as bad whether there is a legal marriage or not. (Where do people get the idea that it feels any different??)

...people who are not your spouses can still cheat on you.

Exactly! And how terribly ignorant, or just plain stupid, to think it won't hurt as much if you're not married.

What grinds at me is that despite the necessity for both parties to agree to enter a marital contract, it only takes one to break it. There is no pentalty whatsoever for the one who does

Depends on what you call "penalty" - some would call alimony and/or child support "penalties".

and the thoughts, feelings and opinion of the other are completely disregarded.

Completely agree with you there. The BS should be able to sue for Emotional Suffering and Distress the same way they can sue for alimony or child support.

There is nothing to protect a BS - not legally, emotionally or in any other aspect. The actually contract - the marriage certificate that you sign with witnesses etc., has absolutely no value whatsoever, save whatever sentiment it holds to you personally.

well, I wouldn't say that - if I had not been legally married to XWH, my son and I would be living out of our car right now and the boy would have no legal standing as his father's son.

There is still far more than sentiment involved with the marriage certificate. That's the same argument that people use when they refuse to marry their partners - that the marriage license is "just a piece of paper". I can tell you from experience that it's anything but.

Me, BW
WH cheated in corporate workplace for many years. He moved out and filed in summer 2008.