How to Know if You Need a Cohabitation Agreement

A cohabitation agreement is an important legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of two people living together in a shared living space. It can help protect both parties' interests when it comes to things like sharing finances, property ownership, and other concerns that could arise during a long-term relationship. A cohabitation agreement is most beneficial for couples who are not married but want to make sure that their relationship is respected under the law. A cohabitation agreement ensures both parties clearly understand their rights and obligations if their relationship ends.

Signs that You May Need a Cohabitation Agreement:

  • You and your partner are not married, but you plan to live together for an extended period of time.
  • You and your partner have different financial situations and you want to outline how expenses and assets will be shared.
  • You or your partner own property and you want to ensure that it is protected in the event of a breakup.
  • You and your partner have children from previous relationships, and you want to establish clear expectations for financial and parental responsibilities.
  • You or your partner has a significant amount of debt that you want to protect the other person from in case of separation.
  • You or your partner will be supporting the other financially and you want to outline the terms of that support.

The agreement can also ensure that each party receives their fair share of assets if the couple decides to split up or one partner dies. Couples can avoid disagreements and legal issues later down the road by having an agreement in place.

4 Benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement

Having a cohabitation agreement in place can provide considerable peace of mind for unmarried couples who decide to live together. Typically, such an agreement will outline the rights and responsibilities of each partner in the relationship to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding that could arise while they live together. Additionally, the document can provide financial protection for both individuals, and the agreement can explain how assets will be divided should the relationship end.

  • A cohabitation agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of each partner in the relationship, avoiding confusion or misunderstanding.
  • It protects both individuals' financial interests by establishing how assets will be divided if their relationship ends.
  • It gives both parties a sense of security, knowing their wishes will be respected under the law if one partner dies.
  • A cohabitation agreement can help avoid costly legal disputes when a couple decides to move on from their relationship or if one partner dies unexpectedly.

Couples can establish relationship clarity and secure many of the legal protections available to married partners with a cohabitation agreement. Whether the cohabitation ends because the relationship dissolves or an untimely death, each party can know their wishes and interests have been acknowledged.

Important Limitations of Cohabitation Agreements

While many important, robust protections are available to couples creating a cohabitation agreement, it does not offer the same protections to unmarried couples as those provided by a marriage contract.

  • While having a cohabitation agreement in place may help avoid costly legal disputes, the couple may still have to go through court proceedings if there is some disagreement over a particular issue.
  • Cohabitation agreements are not always legally enforceable in every state or locality, so if couples move, they should check with their local laws to ensure they are still protected.
  • A cohabitation agreement does not offer the same legal recognition or rights as a marriage, such as family benefits or tax advantages.

While having a cohabitation agreement in place may help avoid costly legal disputes in the case of a breakup or death, there are no guarantees. The agreement cannot foresee the future, so it’s important to include issues you think could become a problem.

Contact Cutter & Lax Today!

You can make mutual changes to your agreement and update an existing cohabitation agreement. At the law offices of Cutter & Lax, we provide professional legal advice and services to ensure your cohabitation agreement meets your needs and continues to serve you and your partner well. Whether you need assistance creating a cohabitation agreement or changes to an existing agreement, contact Cutter & Lax today! Our experienced attorneys will work closely with you to ensure you get the best advice when it comes to protecting your rights and interests. Call (818) 839-2533 or contact us online to get started.