Lawyers for cohabitation contracts help couples live together and avoid arguments pertaining to assets, debt, and property. Using a skilled attorney experienced in drafting cohabitation agreements by couples is strongly advised. For the contract to be enforceable and safeguard each party, it must adhere to specific legal standards. A cohabitation agreement is usually signed by both parties involved in the relationship before a witness that helps get financial security if things go south.
Why Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?
For couples who stay together, having a cohabitation agreement protects their assets from the other. This agreement is mainly for couples staying together without a legal marriage. It is also applicable to unmarried couples, homosexuals, or same-sex couples. Here is why a cohabitation agreement is necessary:
- It helps to outline the financial assets and belongings of each party clearly.
- It helps to eliminate any confusion or conflict regarding the property owner of the house you are staying in.
- If things go south and partners split up, this agreement clarifies the distribution of financial assets.
- In case of any legal action, this agreement acts as a vital piece of evidence.
What is Included within the Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement acts as a security source and helps manage finances better. It is beneficial to both individuals to safeguard their belongings and ensure that all their future investments are cleared out. Here are some things that are clearly stated within a cohabitation agreement:
It outlines the individual's assets, such as property, jewelry, cars, deposits, etc., before they decide to agree.
Ownership of the House
When the couple moves in together in a house, the house's owner is determined within the contract. If the house belonged to any of the two, it is clearly stated within the contract. It prevents the other partner from claiming the property if they separate. Further, any contributions towards repair or investment in the property can be outlined. This is further discussed for reimbursement.
Similarly, if the couple has brought the property together, the property should be signed as a joint property. This way, both of them have an equal right on the property. Thus, in case of separation, the value of the property is equally distributed to both.
This section of the agreement clearly states the bills that need to be paid for the house, such as electricity charges, gas bills, maintenance costs, etc. Further, it states which of the two pays the bill or in what percentage. In case of separation, these charges are brought up for equal distribution of finances.
Inheritance of the Property
If something happens to either of them, it is important to determine to whom the property and other assets belong, especially in the case of joint properties. If there is no next relative stated, the property goes to the partner after death.
When it comes to a cohabitation agreement, the rights and financial distribution of the load of the children are of utmost importance. Either or both individuals may have a child or children. In fact, it is also possible that the couple plans to adopt their own children. Therefore, it is important yet tricky to understand the custody and contribution to their lives.
Cost of a Cohabitation Agreement
The average cost of a cohabitation agreement is around 450 dollars.
Why Should You Consider Hiring a Lawyer for a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is generally signed between couples who are planning on moving in together. This agreement is a distinction of their assets that is beneficial in case they split up, or one of them passes away. Negotiating with their partners directly can turn the course of events and is challenging. Hiring a lawyer to handle this entire process can help protect the interests of both parties and enable a smooth process.
Role of a Lawyer
Here are some things that a lawyer manages before the agreement is signed:
Latest Government Norms
The government norms pertaining to unmarried couples living together have constantly been changing. A lawyer must keep track of these rules and acts. They must inform their clients beforehand of any change in policy that has occurred recently that may affect them.
Defining the Financial Status
The lawyer goes through all the assets of both individuals. This includes their personal belongings and sources of income. They clearly state this within the agreement as both parties are clearly aware of the financial status of one another.
Distribution of Financial Load
When in a relationship, both parties contribute towards household expenses. However, the amount each person contributes is subjective. Their needs and financial income can determine this. The lawyer intervenes between both parties and distributes the financial workload of each. This way, they are aware of the money they need to pull out.
This is further stated in the contract. If there is a difference in the amount, the person paying a higher amount can claim or demand money from the other during separation. This ensures that both partners have equally contributed throughout their relationship.
Drafting of a Will
Within a cohabitation contract, the next of kin has to be stated. Thus, it is important for both parties to have their own wills. A will shall not only help in distributing any property they mutually own but also take care of the distribution of their other financial assets.
Inclusion of Children
Here are some factors that the lawyer helps you determine if children are involved in your relationship:
- Custody and Child Ownership: If any or both individuals have children, it must be stated within the contract. In case there is a split up, the custody of the child generally stays with their biological parents. On the other hand, if the couple decides to adopt a child, custody cannot be determined beforehand.
- Financial Distribution of Biological Children: In case of children out of the relationship, generally, the biological parent contributes to their child's expenses, such as education, etc. However, a couple can also mutually agree to distribute these finances among themselves. If there is any such agreement between the couple, the same is mentioned within the contract.
- Adopted Children: If the couple has decided to adopt a child, there is a huge financial load that the couple has to bear. It must be clearly stated who is responsible for the same.
- Cohabitation Agreement: An agreement signed between the parties involved who decide on a live-in relationship, without marriage. It is done to protect the personal and financial assets.
- Will: This is a drafted document by an individual that states regarding the possession of their assets, such as cash, gold, land, and property, after their death.
When couples split up, the distribution of assets can be a tedious and difficult process. Having a cohabitation agreement drafted can help sail smoothly through this transition period. Get an expert opinion from the lawyers of Contracts Counsel today.