What should I include in a cohabitation agreement?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2021 | Family Law

In general, cohabitation agreements are permitted in California and can include rights commonly associated with a marriage relationship such as rights to property that is acquired during the marriage. Because these agreements can be oral or written, and can also be implied, it is helpful for couples who are living together to be familiar with what can be included in a cohabitation agreement.

Property accumulated during the relationship

Defining how property acquired during the relationship should be treated is important. The couple may decide on a 50-50 split or another way to address property acquired during the relationship such as the partner who purchased the property is considered the owner.

Property acquired by gift or inheritance

In general, property that is received by gift or inheritance is typically considered separate property owned by the recipient. Recording this in a cohabitation agreement can be useful.

Property acquired prior to the relationship

In general, property that was acquired prior to the relationship is typically considered separate property but it is good to include this in the cohabitation agreement to avoid unnecessary confusion.


It can be helpful to address in the cohabitation agreement how expenses will be paid. The couple may decide to split expenses in half or they may decide on a different method of sharing expenses which should be included in the cohabitation agreement.

Separation of death

It is also important to determine and record what happens to the couple’s property if the relationship ends either by separation or death of one of the partners.

Dispute resolution

Adispute resolution provision in a cohabitation agreement can be helpful which can outline how disputes will be handled if any arises. This can include a provision for mediation or arbitration when a dispute comes up for example.

Family law is the area of the law that can help couples through a variety of concerns that may come up in their day-to-day lives. Cohabitation agreements are one example and are useful for unmarried couples to consider having.