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Lombard estate planning attorneyOur society is becoming more accepting of non-traditional families which means that many couples no longer feel pressured to get married before starting a life together. In fact, the number of live-in couples in the U.S. rose 25 percent from 2000 to 2010. If you are in a committed relationship with someone but you are not legally married, you may miss out on some of the legal protections and advantages provided through marriage, particularly those related to inheritances and estate planning. However, with some preparation, it is possible to create an accurate estate plan which reflects your wishes even if you are not married.

Create a Will

An important step for anyone is creating a last will and testament. It is especially crucial for unmarried couples to be deliberate about their wills. In order to ensure that your assets are passed to your significant other when you die, you must specifically name your partner as your beneficiary on all pensions, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. Some retirement accounts have rules against nonfamily beneficiaries, so double check with an estate planning attorney that you are able to legally name your partner on all necessary accounts. You may need to designate your significant other as your power of attorney and sign an advance care directive if you wish him or her to make decisions about health care and finances if you ever become unwell.

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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneysThere are many reasons that a couple may choose not to marry. Some have become disheartened with the increasing prevalence of divorce and, therefore, do not see the point in marrying. Others want to maintain their single status for political, religious, or personal reasons. Some same-sex couples live in parts of the country where same-sex marriage was not legal until very recently. Only the individuals in a relationship can decide if marriage is right for them, but it is important to know that there are steps unmarried couples can take to protect their rights and assets.

A Cohabitation Agreement Can Protect You in the Case of a Breakup

Common law marriages have not been legally recognized in Illinois since 1905. This means that two people can share their lives together, live in the same house, help each other pay bills, and raise children together without being considered legally married. Couples that live together but are not married do not have the same rights and protection under the law as those couples that are married. Those who split up after sharing a life together may find themselves in a legal mess. For example, if the couple has brought property, real estate, expensive home goods or vehicles together, it is difficult to establish how this property should be divided following a breakup.

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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneyMore couples are choosing to live together without being married than ever before. In fact, cohabitation is being called the "new normal," when it comes to living arrangements for younger couples. Three out of four women will have lived with a male partner before turning 30, according to one study. Whether you are considering marriage in the future or have decided to forego marriage altogether, it is still important to protect yourself and your rights while living together with a partner. A family law attorney can help you craft a cohabitation agreement and answer any other questions you may have.

Cohabitation Facts

A government study spanning the years 2006-2010 reported that nearly half of all women - 48 percent - in so-called first-unions, or long-term relationships with men, chose to move in with their partners prior to or in place of getting married. The figure represented a five percent increase from a similar study conducted in 1995. Roughly 40 percent of those cohabitants studied married their partner within the next three years, and another 32 percent continued to live with their partner without getting married.

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cohabitation, cohabitation agreement, lawyer, attorney, divorce, divorce rate, cause of divorceIn the past, cohabitation before marriage has often been linked to couples filing for divorce. New information, however has shown that this is incorrect. In fact, in certain cases, living together before getting married may actually improve the chances of a marriage succeeding.

New research conducted by Dr. Arielle Kuperberg, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has shown that for women who have personal circumstances that may, in many cases, indicate a higher risk for divorce, cohabitation can actually improve their chances at a successful marriage. This includes:
  • Women who have had a premarital birth;
  • Women who have had more than the average number of sexual partners;
  • Women raised in single parent families;
  • Women raised in stepparent families.
Dr. Kuperberg’s research found that previous studies linking cohabitation and divorce consistently overstated the risk, ignoring other issues that may have also increased the risk of an unsuccessful marriage. For example, poorer couples have a tendency to cohabitate, and a lower economic status often leads to divorce. These studies also compared couples by the ages at which they married, instead of their ages when they moved in together. When Dr. Kuperberg compared these couples at the age when they moved in together, she found no difference in the divorce rate. Instead, couples who married or cohabitated at ages younger than 23 were the ones at a higher risk for divorce. Of course, the cause of a divorce is rarely simple. In most cases, the reasons behind a divorce cannot be traced to a single factor. If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, your first step should be to obtain the services of a qualified attorney. The professionals at A. Traub & Associates have years of experience, and will do their best to ensure that your divorce moves as smoothly through the system as possible. Contact us today for your initial consultation, and let us help you get started on your way to a new life.

KerryFor couples who make the decision to live together and not legally wed, the end of the relationship can be costly, whether the relationship ends because they decide not to live together or because one person dies. The state of Illinois does not recognize common-law marriage, leaving both parties unprotected.

There is no property division for separately owned property and no palimony. If one of the couple becomes a stay-at-home parent to care for children of the relationship, there is no law defining loss earning capacity. If one person becomes sick and is hospitalized, their partner has no legal say in their care. And there is no right to inherit the estate if one person dies.

Unless a couple is married or has entered into a civil partnership, the law does not recognize the living-together relationship. That’s why it’s important for unmarried couples to work with an attorney to prepare documents which will protect both parties. A cohabitation agreement should have the following:

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