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cohabitation agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyMore and more couples are choosing not to get married. It is possible that many people avoid marriage for the simple fact that so many marriages end in divorce. Other couples have personal reasons for putting off tying the knot. However, legal and financial issues can arise when an unmarried cohabitating couple breaks up. Unlike when a married couple splits, a cohabitating couple does not have legal protections which ensure that their property is fairly split.

Illinois does not recognize common law marriages so there are no laws which direct how an unmarried couple’s property and debts should be divided when they break up. One way to protect yourself when living with a partner who you are not married to is a cohabitation agreement.

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a marriage agreement or prenuptial agreement in that it is a legally-enforceable contract that dictates how an unmarried couple’s property will be divided if they break up. A cohabitation agreement can be used to decide each party’s financial responsibilities in advance. More specifically, a cohabitation agreement can allow you to:

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 cohabitation agreement, Lake County family law attorney, Wheaton family law attorney, cohabitation relationship, cohabitating couple, living together, common-law marriageStatics show that an increase in couples are making the decision to cohabitate instead of getting married. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, between the years 2006 to 2010, half of the women who got married lived with their partner before they wed.

The Center's data also revealed that forty percent of the women wed their significant other within three years, but another 27 percent of cohabitation relationships dissolved within five years. And one in five women become pregnant during the first year of living with their partner.

When the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest results, it showed that 7.5 million (heterosexual) couples are living together. That figure has more than doubled what it was in 1996.

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cohabitation, divorce, Wheaton divorce lawyer, divorce trend, divorce rateSociologists at the Council on Contemporary Families now believe that the stigma long held against cohabitation before marriage should be thrown out the window. A new study from their office reveals that nearly two-thirds of all couples live together before their wedding day, and that this might mean good news for the couple's chance of divorce.

While previous studies looked at a myriad of time-related factors for couples, lead researcher Arielle Kuperberg believed that research should delve into when marriage-like roles begin for couples. Kuperberg argues that living together before marriage could give couples a chance to work out some major issues before walking down the aisle together. Her survey looked at more than 7,000 couples to arrive at this result.

What the study did find is that the age when couples move in together is important: those who moved in earlier than age 23 were more likely to split up down the road. Kuperberg believes that it mostly due to maturity.

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