16 Nov Couples Living together without getting married should consider signing cohabitation agreements
Unmarried couples are choosing to live together more often today than in years past. There are many reasons unmarried couples choose to live together, from religious preferences to sharing of financial burdens.
While living with your partner comes with many benefits, it lacks the legal protections of marriage. A marriage is essentially a legal contract, and divorce is a termination of that contract. In divorce the court steps in, using the state’s defined guidelines, to decide how things should be divided and if anyone should be paid alimony. When they decide to separate, cohabitating couples don’t have a guiding contract.
Cohabitation agreements can be a helpful legal contract for unmarried couples in many situations. These agreements establish a contractual basis to decide how things will unfold. Like a marriage, a cohabitation agreement will guide the division of property and if anyone is owed alimony. Some things that are also typically covered in cohabitation agreements include:
- Financial support during and after the relationship
- The right to make medical decisions
- The right to act as a guardian to the incapacitated
Many states have common law marriages which may find cohabitating couples married although they choose not to be. A cohabitation agreement can state that the couple is not married, and does not wish to be married.
Unlike the laws which bind marriage, cohabitation agreements allow for great flexibility. West New York family law attorney Jeffrey M. Bloom can work with you to decide what things need to be covered in your agreement and specifically tailor an agreement to your needs.
Some couples choose to have an agreement which is very limited, like covering the purchase of a house, while others choose to have much more complex agreements, which can encompass many phases of life.
Couples that plan to be, or have been together for a long period of time yet do not intend to marry will find a cohabitation agreement particularly useful. As time passes, couples accumulate large quantities of money, assets, debt, and property that needs properly distributed after a death or break up.
You should consider a cohabitation agreement if you, or your partner, has a child from a previous relationship, has assets like a business or property, has a large amount of debt, makes significantly more money, or wants to ensure that your partner is covered by your insurance.
If you’re considering a cohabitation agreement, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Bloom using the form at the top of the page or call (855) 208-3650 today to schedule a consultation. Mr. Bloom serves clients in West New York, and throughout Hudson County and Bergen County, New Jersey.