4 Reasons Kane County Couples Need a Cohabitation Agreement
Whether you have heard of a cohabitation agreement or not, you might need one if you are living with but not married to your romantic partner. It is becoming increasingly common for couples to live together in long-term, committed relationships without choosing to legally marry. The reasons couples may elect not to marry are numerous and varied. Some simply do not see the need for a “piece of paper” to show commitment. Others prefer to avoid legal entanglement.
However, in the event that such a relationship ends, there is likely to be a legal entanglement of some type anyway, often in the form of joint property or even children in common. A cohabitation agreement can help you address how certain issues would be settled should you split, or should one of you pass away. These agreements may be the best way for unmarried couples to legally protect themselves.
What Are the Benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement?
When a married couple splits, they must go through formal divorce proceedings. During a divorce, a court oversees the equitable distribution of marital property and addresses any child custody concerns. No such process exists when unmarried couples split. A cohabitation agreement can help with:
- Joint real estate - If you and your partner own a home together, it is crucial that you have a contract in place that sets out what will happen with the house should you split. Will one person remain in the home and buy out the other’s interest? Must the home be sold and the profits divided?
- Shared accounts - Cohabiting couples quite commonly have at least one shared bank account simply for practical purposes like paying joint expenses, such as utilities. In the absence of an agreement, you and your partner could be left to your own devices in dividing these funds, which could prove disastrous if one party acts in bad faith.
- Estate planning concerns - If you and your partner outlast most married couples and the relationship survives until one of you passes away, the survivor may have few or no legal protections. Illinois does not recognize the right of a cohabiting but unmarried partner to inherit no matter how long they lived together or how marriage-like the relationship was. A cohabitation agreement can address how certain aspects of your testamentary estate plans should be handled to ensure that you are protected in the event that one of you passes away.
- Children - Unmarried couples who are raising children together should absolutely have some sort of parenting agreement that puts the children’s needs first in writing. An attorney can help with drafting any agreement related to children in the event of a split, as the law is particular about what provisions can and cannot be included.
Speak With a Kane County Cohabitation Agreement Lawyer
When you and your partner are ready to begin working on your cohabitation agreement, give The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates a call at 630-232-9700. Our experienced Geneva cohabitation agreement attorneys are skilled at working with couples to create thorough and legally sound agreements. Contact us for a free consultation.