Cohabitating with your Partner? Why You Need A Clear Agreement in Place

Family Law AttorneysThese days, younger people are increasingly opting to cohabit with their partner as opposed to getting married. There are also others who see cohabitation an essential step that comes before marriage. While this type of arrangement can make a lot of sense, there’s a few considerations that cohabitating couples should spend time discussing with one another, at least when it comes to the financial side of things.

As we’ve seen time and time again, many cohabiting couples can be in for a nasty surprise when they realize that their arrangement does not carry the same protections and legal assumptions that a marriage usually does. Today, we are looking at cohabitation agreements, a type of legal document that allows couples to formally establish agreed-upon terms on a variety of important financial issues.

What Should I Include in a Written Cohabitation Agreement?

Cohabitation agreements primarily deal with finances and property, and they are usually enforceable, provided the terms don’t amount to prostitution. Most couples use this type of agreement to establish clear terms on property. Couples are able to document who currently owns what, how newly-acquired and joint property will be handled, and more.

Perhaps more importantly, a cohabitation agreement can also be used to enforce rules that might typically only apply to a formal marriage. For example, the right to receive survivor benefits, the right to sue for wrongful death, and other legal attributes that apply to a marriage are not always enforceable in a cohabitation arrangement. A written document can help establish these rights and expectations, though specific clauses can get complicated as legal precedence might not yet be fully established.  

Want to Learn More?

These are just some of the things that cohabiting couples need to think about, especially if they don’t plan to get a formal marriage anytime in the near future. We’ve seen it time and time again, couples wait until it is too late to establish these rights. That said, each situation carries its own nuances however, so before you implement a cohabitation agreement, be sure to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney.

To learn more about this or any other matter relating to family law in CA, don’t hesitate to contact us at R & S Law Group, LLP. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our qualified legal experts, who can answer any questions relating to divorce, child custody, and family law.