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Think You Can Avoid The Problems of Divorce by Just Living Together? Think again!

posted by Bedrock Divorce Advisors 10:00 AM
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Most couples who live together do not have any agreements in place that specify legal obligations or rights to one another.  They have the misguided idea that because they are not married they can simply walk away from each other without looking back.  However, this may not be the case.

When a couple decides to live together, they often create a household with many of the same financial obligations as a married couple. They may have mortgages, cars, furniture and other jointly owned assets that can be difficult to deal with in the event they end their relationship.

There is also an issue in regard to expectations.  For example, you may believe that all of your property will remain apart and separate from your companion’s, while he or she may believe “what’s mine is yours” and vice versa.

While it is true that there are no state imposed laws or obligations that regulates what happens at the end of cohabitation, it’s also true that you don’t have the legal protections afforded married couples. This means that you can divide property in any way you wish. However, the absence of legal guidelines often creates more conflict (and lawsuits). So in the end, the problems related to dividing assets are more difficult to resolve than married couples going through divorce.

If you choose to live with your partner, it is advisable to develop a cohabitation agreement which is a legal agreement reached between a couple who have chosen to live together without marriage.  The cohabitation agreement can detail property rights, financial obligations and how debts and assets will be handled should the union break down.  This agreement is much like a prenuptial agreement that will allow a couple to determine in advance how assets and liabilities will be divided should they divorce (in fact, a well written cohabitation agreement can be drafted in such a way that it automatically converts to a prenuptial agreement if, and when, the couple gets engaged).

If you are a woman in a pre-marital relationship and would like advice on how to protect your assets (including any businesses you may own) to avoid a future financial nightmare, please contact one of our Divorce Financial Strategists™. We will help you understand all of the complex issues involved and show you how to best protect yourself.

All content on this site/blog is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. 
If you require legal advice, retain a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. The opinions expressed are 
solely those of the author, who is not an attorney.
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