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Understanding Cohabitation Agreements

 Posted on February 14, 2017 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.

A cohabitation agreement is designed to establish each party’s rights and responsibilities should a breakup occur. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement may not seem like a necessary step for a happy couple. However, statistics show that 40% of couples living together will break up within 5 years. Nobody wants to plan for the failure of a happy relationship, but it is the responsible choice to make. As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Cohabitation agreements are especially important for those people in the following circumstances:

  • Individuals with assets and wealth they wish to protect;
  • People who made large purchases (or plan to) while cohabitating;
  • Individuals who helped their partner financially throughout the course of the relationship;
  • Those who are helping to raise children or manage a household; and
  • Couples with large income disparities, especially when one member of the couple is not working outside of the home.

Contact a Family Lawyer

If you have decided to forgo marriage and would like to know more about how a cohabitation agreement could help you protect yourself, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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