WHAT MAKES FOR AN AIRTIGHT COHABITATION AGREEMENT?
Those who are familiar with the existence of cohabitation agreements often think of them as an unmarried couples’ alternative to a prenuptial agreement. Both function similarly. They both emphasize each partner’s or spouse’s rights and protect their assets.
Issues addressed in these agreements include topics that may become easily fought over if the couple breaks up or one of the partners dies.
Property division is one such topic. Couples often enter into them to spell out their joint tenancy or survivorship rights. In the case of the latter, doing so may involve a partner’s name being added to the deed. This agreement may also detail whether one partner will receive any financial backing from the other during the relationship and if it were to end.
Couples may also decide to detail how they’d divide up custody of their minor kids, share visitation and support them in this contract. A judge may overlook these details, though, especially if what’s described isn’t in the best interests of the children. They’re also used by couples to detail who’s responsible for health insurance costs.
They’re often drafted in conjunction with a health care power of attorney. This gives one partner the right to make certain medical decisions for the other if they become incapacitated.
Courts have historically ruled that cohabitation agreements are valid when they’re executed in one of three different ways.
A judge may rule that an unmarried couple has an implied agreement even if they never discussed the matter or signed off on it in writing. They’ll often consider the entirety of the circumstances before rendering a decision about whether there was an implied delegation of responsibility.
Partners may also enter into an oral or written contract with one another. They may detail their rights and how they intend to split up property in it.
If there’s no oral, written or implied agreement, then a California judge may be asked to help partners make decisions about rights and property division matters. They’ll often do what they deem to be the fairest and equitable.
Cohabitation agreements are much like prenups. If a judge deems that it contains information that shouldn’t be there or they consider it to be unfair, then they may throw it out. If you’re hoping to have your cohabitation agreement stand up in court in the city of Orange, California, then you’ll want to have a family law attorney draft it for you.