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Should We Write a Cohabitation Agreement?

Posted on in Family Law

illinois family law attorneyOne of the reasons that the divorce rate among younger couples in Illinois is beginning to decline is that many people are choosing to live together long-term instead of getting married. The risks of marriage may seem too great for the potential rewards, or a couple may simply be uninterested in the hassle and formality of a wedding. 

Whatever the reason, living together still presents challenges in terms of who owns what property, especially if a couple shares financial responsibilities like home or vehicle ownership. If you are considering living together but not getting married, you will not be protected by marriage and divorce laws if you separate; you may, therefore, find a cohabitation agreement written with the help of an Illinois family lawyer useful. 

Reasons for Writing a Cohabitation Agreement 

Couples who are married receive legal protections in the form of property rights, tax benefits, and paternity assumptions about any children that are born to them. However, unmarried couples who want similar benefits need written and signed cohabitation agreements. Some reasons to create a cohabitation agreement include: 

  • Bill payment - Whether a couple owns or rents, determining who is responsible for paying which bills is an important part of keeping a household running smoothly. When both partners’ names are on a lease or mortgage, a cohabitation agreement can specify who is in charge of making sure certain bills get paid. 

  • Shared accounts - Couples often save money together, but what happens to this money in a breakup? A cohabitation agreement can address assets and debts, including how much money each partner will save during the relationship. 

  • Ending the relationship - If a couple lives together and shares children, a cohabitation agreement can create a plan ahead of time to detail a couple’s behavior if the relationship ends. Which partner moves out? Will one partner pay the other financial support for a period of time? 

  • Death or disability - If one partner dies or is intellectually disabled, a cohabitation agreement can designate what happens to shared property or name someone as a guardian for children or for either partner. 

Issues of child custody cannot be negotiated in a cohabitation agreement because these decisions must be made by parents and approved by an Illinois court, whose authority supersedes any other contract relating to the children. However, as long as other issues in a cohabitation agreement are written according to Illinois contract law, it will likely be enforceable in court. An attorney with experience writing these agreements can help you create one that suits your needs and protects your rights, both now and in the future. 

Call an Arlington Heights Divorce and Family Law Lawyer

Deciding to live together long-term is a legitimate decision that works well for many Illinois couples, but be sure to protect your personal financial interests with a written agreement you create with the help of an Arlington Heights family law attorney at A. Traub & Associates. Our all-star team of tough female attorneys can answer your questions and get you the help you need. Call us today at 847-749-4182




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