Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Living together before marriage: think about a cohabitation agreement

When married couples split up, they have the law to help them separate their lives and belongings.  When an unmarried couple splits up, they have very little law and guidance on how to separate their lives and belongings.  This is particularly true in the case of unmarried couples who have been living together.  A cohabitation agreement may be right for you even if you expect to never split up.

In a cohabitation agreement, you and your partner can set out guidelines for what it will look like living together: who will be responsible for what tasks, who will pay which bills, who will provide what furniture.  This agreement is helpful even if you never split up.  It allows both parties to discuss and agree on household issues BEFORE they become issues for the relationship.

You can also agree, in a cohabitation agreement, what a potential split up will look like: who will get what belongings, who will be allowed to remain in the home, particularly if you own it, and how that will be divided, etc. This agreement will then become your guidelines during a split-up.  This way, both parties will know what to expect and they have already agreed on how things should proceed.

A cohabitation agreement is a type of contract and many parts of that agreement will be enforceable.  However, a cohabitation agreement is helpful to couples aside from the legal enforcement aspect, in that it provides a communication avenue and clarity of expectations from the beginning.

If you would like more information or a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or clbaudean@baudeanlaw.com.