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“Cohabitation” Agreements?

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“Cohabitation” Agreements?

“Cohabitation” Agreements? by Daniel R. Burns

{3:24 minutes to read} A couple planning on getting married can enter into a prenuptial agreement to deal with such issues as the distribution of marital assets, rights to the estate of the other person, how they will each support themselves if they end their marriage, and how to provide for the care and custody of any children.

But what if the couple is not considering marriage but still wishes to live together? Shouldn’t they have an agreement that addresses these matters as well?

More couples are putting off getting married today than at any time since the institution of marriage became a part of the landscape. According to a survey by the National Center for Health and Statistics, in 1995 approximately 34% of couples lived together without being married. By 2015 that figure had risen to almost 50%.

Part of the reason for this increase is the number of millennials that are not concerned with the “stigma” of living together without being married. Another reason is due to the number of people that are divorcing later in life and see no reason to get married again, but still, want to be in a relationship.

I believe it is wise for a couple that is not planning on getting married to have a “Cohabitation Agreement” before they begin living together.

This agreement could include such provisions as:

  • How they would share the costs of housing and utilities;
  • How they would share the costs of food and entertainment;
  • How they would pay their joint bills; and
  • How much each would contribute into a joint bank account that was set up to pay some of these expenses.

It could also address any issues that might need to be resolved if they decided to stop living together, including:

  • Who would get to stay in the house or apartment;
  • How long the person who is leaving has to find another place to live and to move out;
  • How each would be reimbursed for expenses he/she incurred while living together;
  • How they would divide any furniture they purchased together; and
  • How they would divide any funds in a joint bank account.

Since these can be very sensitive topics to cover, especially when a couple is planning on living together and may not be thinking of these things, I believe the best way to create such an agreement is in mediation.

Mediation allows each person to express their expectations for the relationship and how they view their future. From that discussion, decisions can then be made that will help the couple not only avoid a costly court battle if their relationship sours but to go into the living arrangement with their eyes wide open.

Daniel R. Burns

Attorney & Mediator
1187 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
Phone: (518) 529-5200
E-Mail: Info@BurnsMediation.com
Web: www.BurnsMediation.com

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