My partner and I decided to live together; we are not married. Do we need to have some sort of agreement to keep issues on the up and up?
Cohabitation is when two partners have integrated their residence, property, and daily lives. It can be the first step towards marriage, or it can be an arrangement for couples who don’t want the commitment of marriage.
Did you know that unless you define your relationship through a legal agreement, the law may view you as strangers in the case of a breakup or death? By choosing cohabitation versus marriage, you are foregoing certain rights and protections provided to you in a marital union.
You and your partner can create a ‘living together’ agreement (or cohabitation agreement). It’s designed for couples, such as yourself, stating your legal rights and responsibilities during your relationship and what happens if it should end.
Couples enter into a cohabitation agreement if they wish to provide a plan for things, such as:
- Sharing living expenses
- Division of joint property if the relationship is terminated
- Retaining separate property acquired prior to, and after, the execution of the agreement
If you enter into a cohabitation agreement, it is important to cover the following:
- Division of property, including the residence, in the event of a breakup or death
- Obligating financial support
- Handling debts
- Defining support, custody, or visitation rights if minor children are involved
- Specifying health insurance coverage and the right to make decisions in case of emergency
- Guardianship in the event of incapacitation
Are you in a long-term relationship? Just because you’re living together doesn’t automatically entitle you to the rights and protections afforded to married couples.
Contact the experienced Family Law attorneys at Holstrom, Block & Parke to learn more about the advantages of creating a cohabitation agreement. It will ensure that you and your partner are protected while clarifying your understanding of your relationship.
We have offices in Riverside and Orange Counties.