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The Benefits of Drafting a Cohabitation Agreement

In the last 20 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of romantic partners choosing cohabitation over marriage. In fact, this is a preferable scenario for many young Floridians who are struggling financially but aren’t quite ready for marriage. However, while roommates expect to keep their assets and properties separate, the same can’t be said for romantic couples. If lesser earning partners don’t take preventative action, they could find themselves struggling to afford childcare costs, legal fees, and basic living expenses after a separation.

Fortunately, while Florida law doesn’t recognize common law marriages, it does respect the stipulations listed in a cohabitation agreement.

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is very similar to a prenuptial agreement, minus the impending marriage. For example, it defines your individual relationship contributions and clearly states how you and your partner plan to manage any shared financial obligations (such as rent) and debts. By addressing these concerns upfront, couples can avoid many of the common relationship pitfalls that tend to undermine romantic partnerships.

This also needs to be said: taking legal action against your ex can be an incredibly daunting and expensive legal process. Without a marriage license, your cohabitation agreement is all that stands between you and the unfair division of assets. The court typically abides by the determinations listed in the cohabitation agreement unless it leaves a child financially destitute. So, while it may cost you a bit of time and money to get this document drafted, it’s nowhere near the price of a drawn-out court case.

Should you and your partner split up in the future, your cohabitation agreement provides the following protections:

  • It documents how your communal assets, property, and savings should be split and distributed
  • It details which belongings and assets are considered separate property  
  • It allows you to specify a financial settlement and alimony payments
  • It covers how your children will be financially supported

A qualified attorney can help you develop a cohabitation agreement that reflects your existing relationship dynamic and financial objectives. To draft a successful document, you and your partner both need to hire separate lawyers who can represent your individual interests. This prevents one partner from claiming the agreement is invalid, or “unconscionable,” in the future.

 Once both parties and their respective lawyers approve of this document, it can be signed, witnessed, and saved for a rainy day. Unlike other legal documents, a cohabitation agreement doesn’t need to be notarized. Another nice perk is that this document can be easily modified into a prenuptial agreement if you ever decide to get married.

Interested in Drafting a Cohabitation Agreement? Call Us Today!

If you’re ready to draft or modify a cohabitation agreement, contact the New Port Richey cohabitation agreement lawyer at Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office. Our attorney can facilitate the negotiation process and help you develop an enforceable agreement that protects your interests and achieves your financial objectives.

Contact Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office at (727) 312-1112 to schedule a consultation.

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