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What is a cohabitation agreement and when might I need one?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2020 | Family Law

For a variety of reasons, some people in a romantic relationship in Monterey choose to live together without getting married. Known as “cohabitation” it is important to know that there are certain legal issues that can arise between cohabitating partners.

Property rights and cohabitation

If a couple in California is married, both partners have an ownership interest in any assets they obtain during the course of their marriage. However, the same cannot be said for unmarried partners even if they are cohabitating. Distribution of assets to a spouse after their partner passes away also does not apply to unmarried partners, even if they are living together.

Cohabitation agreements

To avoid some of these problems, some couples choose to execute a “cohabitation agreement.” These agreements are similar in some ways to prenuptial agreements. They can address property rights, how expenses will be handled and what will happen if their relationship ends, among other rights associated with marriage. In California, cohabitation agreements can be written or oral, and can even be implied.

Seek legal advice if you are interested in cohabitation agreements

A cohabitation agreement is ultimately a contract between you and your partner, and if you sign one you will likely be bound to honor it when the time comes. This post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice on the topic of cohabitation in California and how it might apply to you. For this reason, it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney before entering into a cohabitation agreement, so you can understand your rights and obligations under one.