Cohabitation agreements are legal documents that couples living together can create to protect their rights and assets in the event that their relationship ends. These agreements can be especially helpful for unmarried couples who do not have the same legal protections as married couples. If you are considering drawing up a cohabitation agreement, here are some steps to follow:
1. Discuss your reasons for wanting a cohabitation agreement with your partner. Be clear about your expectations and concerns. Some common reasons for creating a cohabitation agreement include protecting individual assets, clarifying financial responsibilities, establishing a plan for how to divide property in the event of a breakup, and outlining arrangements for children and pets.
2. Consult with a lawyer who is experienced in family law. A lawyer can help you understand the legal implications of your cohabitation agreement, and can advise you on what should be included to make it legally binding. It may be beneficial for each of you to have your own lawyer to ensure that your individual interests are properly represented.
3. Decide what you want to include in your cohabitation agreement. The agreement can cover a variety of topics, including:
– Property ownership: This can include how property is to be owned (jointly or individually), what happens to the property in the event of a breakup, and how any proceeds from the sale of property are to be divided.
– Financial responsibilities: This can include how living expenses and bills are to be shared, how debts are to be addressed, and what happens if one partner loses their job or becomes incapacitated.
– Child custody and support: If there are children involved in the relationship, the cohabitation agreement can outline arrangements for custody, visitation, and child support.
– Domestic chores: The agreement can also specify who is responsible for household chores, maintenance, and repairs.
4. Put your agreement in writing. Once you have decided what you want to include in your cohabitation agreement, you need to put it in writing. It is important to be as clear and specific as possible in your language, and to make sure that both partners understand the terms of the agreement. You should also have the agreement notarized to make it an official legal document.
5. Update your agreement as necessary. Your cohabitation agreement may need to be updated over time as circumstances change. For example, if you have children or acquire new property, you may need to revise your agreement to reflect these changes.
In conclusion, drawing up a cohabitation agreement can be a valuable step in protecting your rights and assets as a couple. By following these steps, you can create a legal document that reflects your individual needs and expectations, and provides a clear plan for how to address potential issues in your relationship.