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Cohabitation agreements have become an essential tool for couples embarking on the journey of shared living.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of couples who choose to live together without getting married. While it may not be the most romantic topic, having such an agreement in place can provide clarity and protection for both parties in the event of a relationship breakdown.

One of the primary benefits of a cohabitation agreement is the clarity it brings to financial matters. It allows couples to define how they will manage their finances during their cohabitation, including how they will share expenses, handle joint assets, and manage debts. This clarity can prevent disputes and misunderstandings in the future.

What should you consider?

  1. Protecting your assets: Individuals entering a cohabitation arrangement often bring their own assets into the relationship. A cohabitation agreement allows each party to protect their individual assets, specifying what is considered separate property and what may be subject to division in case of a separation.
  2. Spousal support and property division: Without a cohabitation agreement, the default rules of family law may apply in the event of a separation. This includes potential claims for spousal support and the division of property acquired during the cohabitation. A well-drafted agreement can provide clarity on these issues, helping to avoid lengthy and emotionally taxing legal battles.
  3. Avoiding court: Cohabitation agreements can significantly reduce the likelihood of legal battles in the event of a separation. Clear and mutually agreed-upon terms can streamline the process, saving time, money, and emotional distress for both parties.

Cohabitation agreements provide a solid foundation for building a future together. By addressing potential issues upfront, couples can navigate the complexities of living together with confidence, fostering a healthier and more secure relationship.

If you are considering cohabitation, consult with a family law lawyer to discuss the benefits of a cohabitation agreement tailored to your unique circumstances. Contact Jessica Bonnema at [email protected] to assist you with your drafting needs.

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