Cohabitation Property Agreement: Unmarried Couples

man and woman signing document with divorce or prenuptial agreemThese days many people decide to live together for awhile before or instead of getting married. There may be several different reasons for this, but mostly people either want to get to know the other person better by living together before they decide to get married, the couple doesn’t believe in marriage, or the couple is a same-sex couple in a state where same-sex marriage is illegal. When people live together without the benefit of marriage, there may be some issues that come up after awhile of living together, such as what if one of the people in the couple dies, or the relationship comes to an end? What happens to the property that the couple has accumulated together?

There are ways to protect yourself in case of such instances, such as having a cohabitation property agreement. This is an agreement between you and your partner that defines things such as your property, assets, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance, income, expenses, etc. A cohabitation property agreement will list all of these things and how they are owned or, in other words, whose name they are in.

In the case that the couple has a large asset such as a house, or is considering buying a house together, the couple can make specific considerations in the cohabitation property agreement that involve the house, such as:

  • How much of the home each person owns
  • What will happen to the property if the relationship comes to an end
  • Whose name is on the deed to the house
  • How the house will be appraised and what sort of buyout rights both of you want to have
  • Eviction rights

There are many other things that a couple can list on a cohabitation property agreement, such as the issue of palimony or support of one of the partners should the relationship end, how liable both partners should be for the other partners debt especially in the case of expenses, the income of both partners and what each contributes to the relationship, and property rights to property that has been accumulated while the couple was together should one of the partners die.

Without some sort of legal agreement such as a cohabitation property agreement or a living together contract, the surviving partner has no rights to any property or finances their partner had accumulated or that is owned in their partner’s name, unless stated otherwise in their will. This is but one of the reasons that it is important for unmarried couples to consider having a cohabitation property agreement or a living together contract, so that they can protect themselves financially if the relationship should come to an end or their partner dies.

For more information about cohabitation property agreements and living together contracts, contact an attorney with experience with property issues. The Law Offices of Amy M Montes can answer all your questions and guide you through the agreement process. Call our offices today and speak to an attorney, schedule a free consultation and we can discuss the terms of your agreement.