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A Cohabitation Agreement Can Protect an Unmarried Couple’s Property and Finances

 Posted on August 01, 2019 in Cohabitation

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:

  • Distinguish property each party owned before moving in together from property purchased or earned during the relationship;
  • Describe any property received as a gift or inherited during the relationship;
  • Outline the couple’s shared expenses such as utilities and housing costs;
  • Decide how debts should be managed;
  • Make plans for how any future disputes will be resolved, such as through mediation; and
  • Decide in advance how property will be divided if the couple breaks up or if a party passes away.

Does Creating a Cohabitation Agreement Mean I Think the Relationship Will Fail?

Many people incorrectly assume that making contingency plans for how property and debt will be divided if their relationship ends means that they believe the relationship will not last. This is simply not true. Just as buying car insurance does not increase your chances of getting into a car accident, creating a cohabitation agreement does not increase your chances of breaking up. In fact, many people find that having an open, honest discussion about finances during the process of creating a cohabitation agreement actually helps prevent arguments and problems in the future.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Cohabitation Agreement Lawyer

To learn more about how a cohabitation agreement can benefit you and your family, contact an experienced DuPage Countyfamily law attorney from Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.


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