Everyone has heard of a pre-nuptial agreement, but have you ever heard of a “Cohabitation” or “Living Together” Agreement? Similar to pre-nuptial agreements, Cohabitation Agreements are legal contracts that define the rights and obligations of both partners in the event the relationship dissolves. Cohabitation Agreements may be entered into at any time.
Unmarried couples will not have the same legal protection that married couples are afforded. If the relationship comes to an end, there is not a formal divorce and neither partner in the relationship has a legal responsibility to the other.
Cohabitation agreements offer protection for unmarried couples by providing specific instructions on how assets are to be split, how debt is to be satisfied and how property is to be distributed in the event of a breakup, or the death or incapacity of one of the partners. The agreement can be as detailed as a couple’s lifestyle demands. Timelines may even be built into the document noting how much time one partner may have to meet certain responsibilities.
For example, if one partner wishes to retain the home and wants to buy the other partner out, they may only have a certain amount of time to pay the other partner their equity in the home before the house must be sold.
Custody and funerary arrangements may also be added to the contract.
Although there are templates available for creating your own Cohabitation Agreement, having one drafted by an attorney is highly advisable.
Content Considerations in a Cohabitation Agreement
Cohabitation Agreements are only as good as their relevant content.
These contracts should be reviewed at least every few years and should be amended to account for significant changes in the household.
FindLaw.com - “Cohabitation Agreements” 2/14/2023
SoFI.com “Should you sign a Co-Habitation Agreement with your Partner?” 6/22/2021
ContractsCounsel.com “Cohabitation Agreement”
Money.usnews.com – “What is a Cohabitation Agreement?- Bridget Reed Morawski 6/20/2022