Cohabitation has doubled since the mid-1990s according to the latest Pew Research Center study. Adults from 30 to 44 years old are increasingly deciding to live together and wait until later to get married. For those with college educations, living together is an advantageous way to combine both incomes, and see if marriage and kids are viable in the future. But when people take the plunge to live together and combine their monies, they should get a cohabitation agreement so they are set up for success, not heartbreak and economic failure.
Cohabitation agreements, whether for opposite or same sex couples, define all the key financial and living decisions for the couple. It will detail:
– Disclosure of financial status to include all assets and debts
– Division of living expenses and insurance needs
– Property ownership
– Inheritances, trusts, and retirement plans
– Responsibilities for child custody, health care directives, and last wishes
– Duration of the agreement
Family law attorneys highly recommend getting a cohabitation agreement. If an individual were to be incapacitated, the other person would not have a right to make health care decisions. The responsibility and decisions would be made by family members, and this can sometimes lead to conflicts that are expensive and time consuming. And should the person die, the other partner would not be able to get their share of any assets.
Attorneys often work with clients who claim they were supposed to be supported financially from the other partner but after a breakup were nowhere to be found. If the couple had a cohabitation agreement beforehand, there would be no misunderstandings on the financial agreements and duties, and it would be enforceable by the courts.
“Cohabitation is continuing to increase in popularity,” says sociologist Susan Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research. “Marriage is something that is more optional now and it’s also something increasingly people do later in the life course.”
For many people, they do not want the complications that come with getting married, but still want to love, care, and define their responsibilities. The Pew Study, “Living Together: The Economics of Cohabitation” shows that 58 percent of women lived with an opposite-sex unmarried partner in 2006-2008. As marriage becomes less of a social must, but people are still living together for many years, it calls for the need to have a written understanding of each other’s responsibilities and duties.
In California, Riverside family law attorney Gerald Maggio is skilled in helping an individual create an amicable, enforceable cohabitation agreement with their partner. The Maggio Law Firm is experienced in creating a well-thought out agreement to protect both parties and prepare each person for all anticipated events that could occur.
For more information:
The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.
Orange County Office
8105 Irvine Center Drive, Suite 600
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 553-0346 Fax
3750 University Avenue, Suite 670
Riverside, CA 92501