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Time to Consider a Cohabitation Agreement?

Posted on in Cohabitation

 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.

When a cohabitating couple breaks up, it can actually be more complicated and legally messy than a divorce. And legal is the key word - there is nothing about living together that is covered by law like that of marriage. The state of Illinois does not recognize common-law marriage either.

Couples who live together without a marriage license often make major purchases, such as homes, furniture, appliances, and vehicles. Bank accounts may even be in both names. But yet, how are those items divided if a couple decides to split up?

The death of one partner can also leave the other partner without any legal protection in a cohabitation relationship. This scenario is happening more often as middle-aged and senior couples make the decision to live together instead of marrying - often because of social security and medical benefits. If property is only in the deceased partner's name, then his or her family will have legal precedent over that property, despite how many years the couple may have lived together.

Many attorneys are recommending that couples who decide to live together have a cohabitation agreement drawn up. This agreement can cover the property and assets each of the partners own prior to living together, who will be responsible for what, and what will happen to property they purchase if the relationship should dissolve.

If you are considering moving in with your significant other, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney to discuss the possible benefit of drafting a cohabitation agreement.

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