What is a cohabitation agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is designed for two people who want to live together in a marriage-like relationship, without actually being married. It has some similarities to a prenuptial agreement, though the couple may never marry.
Cohabitation agreements could be less common in the future given the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court’s sanctioning same-sex marriage. Historically, cohabitation agreements were often availed by those who were not permitted to marry, though that has not always been the case. Today many couples desire permanent relationships without the formality of marriage.
Cohabitation agreements can contain all sorts of provisions including:
- How assets and liabilities and income and spending will be dealt with during the relationship; and
- How assets and liabilities will be divided upon any breakup; and
- If any alimony like payments will be paid upon any breakup; and
- How children will be raised during the relationship, and shared in the case of a breakup (though these provisions may only be considered and not binding on a Court); and
- What happens during the cohabitation should the relationship not work out
What kind of legal issues arise with cohabitation agreements?
A cohabitation agreement primarily focuses on finances.
Typically, cohabitation agreements deal with economic and financial rights, support during the union or the relationship, and what happens financially at the conclusion of the relationship should it break apart.
Cohabitation agreements which do not involve minor children issues are typically enforced by Courts using typical contract law. Two people have entered into this partnership type of agreement or contract and they are now dissolving the partnership.
How does the Anton Legal Group help people with cohabitation agreements?
When preparing cohabitation agreements, like when preparing prenuptial agreements, an attorney needs to peer into possible and likely future events. Terms that will reasonably apply to current circumstances as well as possible changes to current circumstances far into the future need to be crafted. Understanding that nobody has a crystal ball for seeing the future, there is no substitute for taking the time to understanding both side’s personal needs, desires and surrounding circumstances when effectively crafting a cohabitation agreement. Many years of experience and some level of education are a must to effectively prepare such a living document. This is as much an art as it is a science.
Enforcing cohabitation agreements is also a somewhat creative process. If parties disagree an attorney must start their analysis with an understanding of contract law and then be able go beyond this discipline and understand other areas of the law (such as family, partnership, real estate and bankruptcy to name a few) along with some psychology.
Your legal analysis will go beyond the actual agreement itself and will necessarily also include discussions on topics such as the titling of assets and liabilities, estate plans, and the like. To schedule your consultation, call the Anton Legal Group today at (813) 443-5249.