A cohabitation agreement is an agreement between two people in a relationship that are not married. This may mean you are boyfriend and girlfriend or an unmarried same sex couple. Accordingly, a cohabitation agreement is a good way to agree in advance how many issues will be handled during the relationship and in the event of a breakup. It is basically a pre-nuptial agreement for unmarried couples.
You can use the cohabitation agreement to do, among other things, the following:
- Identify who owns what property prior to entering the relationship;
- How property purchased during the relationship will be divided if purchased jointly or purchased individually;
- Identify the debt of each party and how such debt will be paid;
- Outline the financial responsibilities of each party for routine and recurring monthly expenses such as housing, vehicles, clothing and food;
- Outline the financial responsibilities of each party for expenses that are not routine or recurring on a monthly basis such as repairs and/or improvements;
- Agree upon who retains possession of the house/apartment and the buyout mechanism if there is equity to be divided;
- Define what, if any, support will be provided to either of the parties during the relationship and after the relationship;
- Agree in advance to move out terms including, but not limited to, timing and payment of expenses;
- Determine what happens in the event of the death of either party;
- Make arrangements regarding the children, if any, but please note that the best interests of a child or children will prevail over a simple contract;
- Determine how gifts given to each other during the relationship will be treated in the event of a breakup; and
- Include a provision regarding payment of attorney's fees and costs.
Cohabitation agreements are valid and enforceable in the State of Florida if drafted properly. This is not something you should draft on your own. There must be consideration for the cohabitation agreement other than sexual relations. A cohabitation agreement must also be in writing. Cohabitation agreements typically become effective upon execution but the parties can make it become effective at a later date if they choose to do so. Accordingly, you should retain an attorney to draft the agreement.
More and more couples are opting not to get married. This means that disputes between unmarried couples are on the rise. If you are married and split up, then you can go to divorce court. A cohabitation agreement is how you protect yourself if you are not married. If you are living with a significant other or considering moving in with a significant other, then you should contact me to discuss the benefits of having a cohabitation agreement for your particular circumstances.
Thank you and I look forward to working with you.
Daniel M. Genet, P.A.
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