Couples are living together and remaining unmarried at higher rates than ever before. While the evolving definition of “family” is an ongoing ethical question, the fact remains that couples are choosing not to get married. They choose for a variety of reasons: financial, commitment, philosophical or a variety of all three. The result has been a surge in changes to traditional family law concepts, like the prenuptial agreement.
Unmarried couples cannot draft prenuptial agreements because those are predicated on marriage therefore they seek assistance in cohabitation agreements. A recent study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that there has been an increase of 26 percent in requests for cohabitation agreements.
The study also found that there has been a 45 percent increase in couples litigating their break-ups. This means that, not only are couples getting cohabitation agreements, but that they are taking their significant other to court. Going to court without a cohabitation agreement makes the process that much more complicated. Different rules govern shared property than marital property. Cohabitation agreements are meant to solve these confusions but they are not always successful. The agreement is only as good as it is written.
If you are considering breaking up with a long-term partner then you may want to speak to an attorney. Many couples do not appreciate that cohabitating with a significant other can still create many legal issues found in traditional divorces. You must deal with dividing assets, debts and properties. It can take months or years depending on how you and your partner lived and shared a life together. An attorney can represent your interests and work in an effort to help ensure that you get a fair and reasonable settlement.
Source: Huffington Post, “Avoiding a Costly Cohabitation ‘Divorce’” Joslin Davis, May 2, 2016