A Cohabitation Agreement Protects Investing In A Non-Marriage Relationship

undefinedBy Robert M. Sakovich, Esq.

We all know that, in a marriage, both parties have a right to property distribution. A husband or a wife who didn't buy the house might still have the right to keep it, or at least to be compensated for the equity in the house that was built up during the marriage with his or her help. But what about unmarried couples who live together?

It's increasingly common for intimate couples to live together before marriage or in lieu of marriage entirely. And while you have every right to do so, you don't have an automatic right to distribution of property. You don't have a right, then, to break up and stay in the home you're familiar with or get the other person's help finding a new place. It doesn't matter if you have stayed in the other person's home as a stay-at-home parent and cared for their child. It doesn't matter if you just lost your job and can't afford a new home. You can't force the other person to help you - a boyfriend or girlfriend has no greater obligation to you than any other roommate.

But there is a solution, and it can come in handy when a non-marriage relationship ends: you could write a cohabitation agreements. A cohabitation agreement is like a prenuptial agreement for a relationship outside of marriage. It defines property rights that don't necessarily exist in law, to make sure that both parties to these increasingly common relationships can carry on when the relationship ends.

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