The Benefits of Creating a Cohabitation Agreement
Over the last few decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals who choose cohabitation over marriage. This can have important repercussions for some Florida couples, as the state does not recognize common law marriages unless the couple in question began living together in one of the 16 states that does acknowledge the legality of these unions. Fortunately, although Florida does not recognize all common law marriages, it does allow couples to enter into cohabitation agreements, which can help clarify how two partners will manage financial obligations and debts. To learn more about the benefits of entering into a cohabitation agreement in Florida, please contact a dedicated Fort Lauderdale legal separation attorney who can advise you.
What are Cohabitation Agreements?
Also known as domestic partnerships or companionship agreements, cohabitation agreements are similar to prenuptial contracts, although they do not involve an impending marriage. Instead, these agreements are entered into by partners who are not planning on getting married, at least in the near future, but still want to protect their assets in the event of a separation. By addressing issues like relationship contributions and the management of shared financial obligations in their agreements, many couples can avoid conflict at a later date.
What Issues do Cohabitation Agreements Cover?
Cohabitation agreements are more than just a way to protect two parties’ assets during a break up. Like prenuptial agreements, these contracts can address a number of issues, including:
- The household duties and rights of each party;
- How various types of property will be acquired, managed, controlled, or disposed of;
- Whether one party will be required to financially support the other in the event of separation;
- How separate and joint bank accounts will be divided;
- How responsibility for expenses will be shared;
- How the couple’s children will be financially supported;
- The fate of a co-owned home in the event of separation; and
- Liability for debts.
The terms of cohabitation agreements will vary depending on the couple’s circumstances, so if you and your partner are considering entering into this type of agreement, it is important to speak with an attorney before doing so.
Enforcing a Cohabitation Agreement
To make the enforcement of a cohabitation agreement easier, couples should be sure to put the agreement in writing, including an attestation of financial disclosure, and require that all parties sign the agreement in the presence of a notary. It’s also a good idea to include specifics about the process of modifying the agreement. When these steps are taken, courts usually abide by the terms of a cohabitation agreement, unless the contract in question leaves a child destitute. Failing to draft an ironclad agreement, on the other hand, can lead to a drawn-out court battle that is both expensive and potentially emotionally draining.
Schedule a Case Review Today
If you are interested in drafting or modifying a cohabitation agreement, you need the advice of an experienced Fort Lauderdale legal separation attorney who can facilitate the negotiation process, protect your interests, and develop an enforceable agreement. Please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale legal separation lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to learn more about how we can help.