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Cohabitation Agreements Explained

Cohabitation Agreements Explained


Today, it is common for couples to live together before they get married. Unmarried couples that are living together have the option to create a cohabitation agreement that can protect their rights as a couple in addition to providing protection for each person’s individual rights and assets. Cohabitation agreements are created for many reasons and can serve a number of different purposes. To learn more about whether a cohabitation agreement is the right option for you and your significant other, talk to a family law attorney in your area today.

Why Create a Cohabitation Agreement?

Cohabitation agreements can be helpful in many different situations. It can serve as a premarital prenuptial agreement, protecting the individual assets of each person in the relationship and dictating what should happen to property and other interests if the couple should split up. A cohabitation agreement is also helpful in protecting the interests of the couple, such as providing that the other person in the relationship is each other’s power of attorney or health care proxy if something should happen that requires the decision making of another person. An experienced family law attorney in your area can explain all of the benefits of a cohabitation agreement for the particulars of your case.

Contents of a Cohabitation Agreement

Like other relationship contracts, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement must be comprehensive, in writing, and signed by both parties. It must not unduly benefit one person in the relationship or else the court could consider it unconscionable if enforced. Some of the most common elements found in cohabitation agreements include, but are not limited to, the following issues:

  • Distribution of property in case of breakup or death
  • Financial support during or after the relationship
  • How to divide the principal residence upon breakup or death
  • Creation of joint tenancy with the right to survivorship on property
  • Adding a person’s name to the deed
  • Determination of health care coverage and responsibilities
  • Creation of powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and healthcare proxies

One other common issue often dictated in a cohabitation agreement is the custody, support, and visitation for minor children in the relationship. While these issues can be included in a cohabitation agreement, it is important to note that these clauses can be easily disregarded or modified by the court. This is because the court does not look at what the parents want so much as they look through the lens of what is in the best interests of the child. However, the court may consider what the parents agreed upon in the cohabitation agreement when determining the final order for your case.

Talk to a Family Law Attorney Today

Cohabitation agreements are quickly gaining in popularity for unmarried couples that live together as a means of protecting individual interests while also promoting the rights of the couple. To learn more about how a cohabitation agreement might be right for your situation. Call or contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney | Baker today at 626-768-2945.



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