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Will increase in cohabitation lead to family law issues?

Most Texas residents understand that marriage trends are constantly changing. In the past, people got married first - sometimes at a young age - and then had kids. If that marriage failed, most couples would try again and remarry. However, current trends show that remarriage is not in the cards for many people.

In the past 20 years, remarriage rates have dropped by 40 percent. This is attributed to two factors: high levels of cohabitation and the increasing average age at which people marry for the first time. Second marriages can also create more issues than the first marriage. This is because there are often children from first marriages that are brought into the picture, further complicating a marriage. Not every second marriage is like The Brady Bunch, where everybody instantly gets along and all is well.

Many people choose cohabitation over marriage because it offers many of the same benefits without all the legal aspects. However, unmarried couples who live together and have children may face family law issues should the couple decide to separate. Even in the absence of marriage, child custody and child support issues will likely still apply.

Those choosing to cohabitate may want to consider the financial and legal ramifications of doing so, especially if children are involved. It is important that their needs are met first and foremost. If there are no children involved, cohabiting is much easier, but there are still financial aspects to explore. How will bills be divided? Who pays for what? What happens if the relationship ends? What happens when one person dies?

A legal professional can help cohabiting couples create a cohabitation agreement to ensure that these - and other questions - are answered. There should not be any doubt as to what is expected by each partner in a cohabitation situation. The goal of cohabitation is to avoid the stress and uncertainty of the legality of marriage.


Source: 
USA Today, "Remarriage rate declining as more opt for cohabitation" Sharon Jayson, Sep. 12, 2013

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