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Cohabitation agreement may ease property division disputes

Over the last couple of decades, divorce rates seem to be declining. With millennials coming of age, many of them have chosen to put marriage on the back burner to allow them the time and energy to focus on their careers. Yet, even those Redondo residents who aren't married can find themselves facing significant family law issues. This often occurs when a couple has been living together for a significant period of time without getting married.

In these instances, when a couple splits they can face some of the same legal issues that divorcing couples face. Child custody and visitation may be contested and property ownership might be disputed. Although these individuals are free to hash out a resolution on their own, the waters can be muddied without the umbrella of a legal marriage to help address these matters. For example, property acquired during a marriage is considered community property, but what about property bought by one individual in a cohabiting relationship that is used by the couple jointly?

To avoid these complicated legal issues, couples that are living together can choose to enter into a cohabitation agreement, sometimes referred to as a living together contract. These documents, similar to a prenuptial agreement, can spell out how property accumulated during the relationship will be divided following a breakup, and how gifts and inheritances will be handled. It can also delineate how debts will be divided should the relationship come to an end.

Of course, discussing such an agreement with a loved one can be challenging. However, with the right approach and adequate preparation, the topic can be broached in a way that leaves both parties feeling better about their financial future should they wind up single once again. To learn more about how to craft these documents in a legally valid and beneficial way, individuals may want to consider speaking with a family law attorney.

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