Claremont Cohabitation Agreement Attorneys
Married couples are afforded a wide range of benefits and advantages, including tax breaks, insurance coverage, death benefits, and legal rights to shared property. Unmarried couples lack most of these rights unless they take affirmative steps to create them. Most couples do not realize that they can guarantee themselves many of the financial protections offered by marriage by making a contract known as a cohabitation agreement.
The family lawyers at Blasser Law are ready to help you understand and protect your rights if you are living with a significant other. Our legal team will advise you of your options, walk you through the process, help you and your partner draft your cohabitation agreement, and enforce your rights if necessary down the line. Call our Claremont family law attorneys today to find out about your cohabitation agreement options.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is a contract between unmarried people who live together, defining their rights and responsibilities. Cohabitation agreements cover much of the same ground as domestic partnership agreements or prenuptial agreements, offering the chance to strengthen relationships by alleviating potential sources of conflict. The agreement can establish financial responsibilities for each partner both during and after cohabitation, operating like a prenuptial agreement in the event of a breakup.
Cohabitation agreements are governed by California contract law, meaning they must be legally sound and follow all appropriate requirements in order to be enforceable. Cohabitation agreements should be made in writing, reviewed by each party’s separate legal counsel, and signed by both parties. While courts may enforce some oral agreements, you are much safer executing a written contract.
What Can a Cohabitation Agreement Cover?
Cohabitation agreements are specifically meant to account for financial issues during and after a relationship. Cohabitation agreements can cover much of the same ground as a prenuptial agreement. Whereas property acquired that becomes community property through marriage can be dealt with in a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement can establish what happens to property acquired during the relationship regardless of marriage, among other things. Your agreement can be as broad or as narrow as you choose.
Your cohabitation agreement can cover each party’s rights and obligations concerning, for example:
- Financial support during and after the relationship
- Property acquired before the relationship
- Property acquired during the relationship
- Jointly-owned property and investments
- Food, housing, utilities, and other expenses
- Property acquired through inheritance or separate gift during the relationship
- How to resolve any disputes that arise from the agreement (for example, binding arbitration)
Cohabitation agreements are not meant to cover personal aspects of a relationship, such as household chores, pets, or child custody rights. California courts are very reluctant to enforce any non-monetary provisions included in a cohabitation agreement. However, if the contract is valid, financial obligations included in the agreement are enforceable just like any other contract.
Should I Get a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement might not be necessary or advisable for every cohabitating couple. Whether a cohabitation makes sense for your family will depend on the longevity of the relationship, the respective financial circumstances of each party, the presence of shared children, and other factors. A cohabitation agreement may be in your best interests, for example, if:
- One party has a substantially higher income and other assets
- One party has given up career opportunities or left the workforce to be a full-time parent or homemaker
- One party is earning the lion’s share of the income while supporting the other party earning an advanced degree
- The parties wish to establish whether there will be financial support should the relationship end
- Either party has business interests, assets, or debts they would prefer to keep separate
- One party is making payments toward property owned by the other party
- The couple buys a home together or makes other joint investments
Talk to your California family law attorney about your circumstances and your partner to discuss whether a cohabitation agreement makes sense for you.
Our Claremont Family Law Attorneys Are Ready to Help You With Your California Cohabitation Agreement
For talented, thorough, and compassionate legal help with a California cohabitation agreement, contact the experienced Claremont family law attorneys at Blasser Law for a free consultation at 877-927-2181.