Have you wondered what happens after you and your signficant other live together for years, co-mingle funds together, purchase assets such as cars and a house together and then split up. As a Florida Divorce Lawyer, I can tell you it is a mess. Many more people are deciding to live together instead of marrying now a days. And these arrangements have spawned an increase in so-called cohabitation agreements, basically a prenuptial agreement for the unmarried couples. These legally enforceable contracts, agreements so to speak, are becoming popular because people feel a need to protect their assets, children, and support obligations before or shortly after living with someone.
Researchers see the rise in these types of agreements as a natural extension to people putting off marriage or avoiding it altogether, in conjunction with the fact that as one gets older, they typically have the need for greater legal protection. Many cohabitation agreements are made out of necessity and are a reaction to both parties protecting themselves in case they decide to go their separate ways. Because couples that live together experience an increase in legal disputes after they decide to split, people entering into these co-habitation agreements find a need to protect themselves from future litigation over assets and liabilities.
For unmarried couples, cohabitation agreements can spell out how large asset purchases, such as a house or car, will be divided in the case of a decision to part ways. Many have already seen the benefits of saving large sums of money and years of court battles. Similarly, cohabiting couples can shield one person from having to assume the other person's liabilities and debts.
Determining if a cohabitation agreement is necessary is best considered at the onset of living with someone; however, late is better than never. The level of current assets and how extensive and how intertwined the finances are may also help gauge the need for a formal agreement with a partner. Florida residents living with someone to whom they are not married, or contemplating such an arrangement, might just discover that a cohabitation agreement can protect one's assets and one's future with or without one's significant other.
Source: CNN Money, "Prenups aren't just for married couples anymore," Jessica Dickler, March 20, 2012