Question: My 42-year-old daughter and her male partner have been together for 25 years but have never married. They have one child together. Each of them works. Will this affect their Social Security benefits when they reach retirement age?

Answer: "Social Security considers some common-law marriages valid if they are recognized under state law," says Donna Clements, manager of Mercer's Social Security Information Services. So the answer depends on where your daughter and partner live or the state where they originally started their common-law marriage (if they moved states).

"Social Security will not make a determination for your daughter and partner until they reach an age at which they qualify for benefits," Clements notes. "In the case of a couple that both work at good jobs, the benefit on their own work record could be more than a spouse's benefit, so the common-law marriage determination would not be a factor," she adds.

To find out if their state is one that recognizes common-law marriages, visit the Social Security website.

Got questions about the tax law, Social Security, Medicare, retirement, investments, or money in general? Email Robert.Powell@TheStreet.com. Kim McSheridan assisted with this report.

Question: My 42-year-old daughter and her male partner have been together for 25 years but have never married. They have one child together. Each of them works. Will this affect their Social Security benefits when they reach retirement age?

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